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Dr. cr-Fv^lCOLAI 








NEW YORK '' P--^ 


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Copyright, 1918, by 
The Century Co. 

Published, October, 1918 


**The Biology of War" was written in German, by a Ger- 
man, for Germans, written since the outbreak of war, in the 
German fortress of Graudenz in which the author was im- 
prisoned. If the German Government could have had its 
way, the book would never have seen the light, at any rate 
not so long as the war lasted; but by a happy chance the 
manuscript was conveyed to Switzerland, where it was 
brought out by the leading German-Swiss publishing firm, 
Orell Fiissli of Zurich. 

When the book appeared, it was promptly barred from 
Germany, the reasons for which will soon be obvious to any- 
one who reads it; and the author was condemned to five 
months' imprisonment in a common jail. At present he is 
interned. in Germany, and carefully watched. Indeed, were 
it not for his position, he would probably still be in prison 
like Liebknecht, or would have shared the fate of Edith 
Cavell or Captain Fryatt. 

Dr. G. F. Nicolai was born in Berlin in 1872. Before the 
outbreak of war he was known throughout Germany as the 
leading heart specialist, in which capacity he had attended the 
German Empress, whom he is said to have saved from a 
troublesome malady. He also held the chair of physiology at 
Berlin University. He married a daughter of Admiralitat- 
srat Buslay, and has one child, a daughter. 

Even before the war Dr. Nicolai was opposed to Prussian 
militarism, and when war broke out and Germany violated 
Belgian neutrality, he openly protested. For this he was 
degraded from his professorship and his property confis- 
cated; and finally he was sent to Graudenz fortress, occupy- 
ing during part of the time the room famous as the '* Fritz 



Reuter room." (Fritz Renter, born 1810, died 1874, was 
condemned to death in 1833 because he belonged to a German 
students' society — a sentence commuted into one of thirty 
years' imprisonment. In 1840, however, on the accession of 
Frederick William IV of Prussia, he was liberated. His tales 
and poems, mostly in Low German, some of which have been 
translated into English, are still much read and appreciated.) 

Professor Nicolai's property having been confiscated, his 
wife and child were left penniless. Her father, who belongs 
to a Prussian Junker family, offered her a home with every 
comfort if she would renounce her husband. She replied that 
she would prefer to become a charwoman or a street-cleaner 
and earn her bread and that of her child in this way rather 
than renounce her husband. 

Professor Nicolai's friends, anxious to save him from hav- 
ing his health ruined by long confinement, brought up his 
case in the German Reichstag, but to no purpose. Those who 
have seen him recently declare that his imprisonment and 
suffering have greatly aged him, and that he now looks quite 
a broken man. By nature, however, he is a very vigorous 
man, whose health was nowise impaired by severe study or 
by his wide travels before the war, although he sometimes 
visited unhealthy climates. For instance, he has visited such 
diverse countries as Malacca, the United States of America, 
Russia, Lapland, and China. 

''The Biology of War" is hardly a book that the average 
European would be capable of reading even in his own lan- 
guage. In the United States, however, it is likely, we think, 
to find proportionately far more readers because of the high 
general level of education and the scientific turn of mind of 
so many Americans. This prevision is borne out by the 
experience of Dr. Nicolai's Swiss publisher, who states that 
''The Biology of War" has been much more read than he 
expected even in Switzerland, but not so much by specialists 
or biologists as by persons of good general education. 


Although the English translation has been simplified as 
much as possible without doing violence to the author's ideas, 
nevertheless the fact remains that this book is not for the 
intellectually indolent. Certain passages it has not been pos- 
sible to make very simple because the ideas themselves are 
profound, while the reasoning is throughout very close. The 
whole book is written from the standpoint of a biologist, while 
the medical man not infrequently appears in it as well: the 
breadth of the author's knowledge and the variety of his quo- 
tations, classical, literary, and historical, cannot fail to aston- 
ish every reader. 

The book has no affinity whatsoever with an ordinary paci- 
fist publication, nor is Dr. Nicolai one of those who are the 
friends of every country but their own. One of his main 
contentions is that the dusk of the War Gods has come. An 
animal, he says, just before it becomes extinct, usually grows 
monstrously unwieldy and clumsy. War has done likewise: 
it h£is grown beyond all bounds. Again, he contends that 
there is no biological justification for war now, and in par- 
ticular none whatever for the favorite German argument that 
without war nations become degenerate and effeminate. Fi- 
nally, he asserts that war is never to be regarded as a neces- 
sary and inevitable part of nature, something which, like an 
earthquake, is wholly beyond human control, and something 
to which we must submit. On the contrary, war is in the 
category of something not inevitable and to which we need 
not submit. War ought to be regarded as we regard smallpox 
or the plague, as something which we can and ought to eradi- 
cate by taking proper preventive measures. 

The book, of course, always refers specially to Germany, 
and the effects of war are largely illustrated by showing 
their action in Germany. The writer demonstrates, for in- 
stance, the influence of Bernhard, Treitschke, Moltke and 
others on the German mind. But no one must imagine that 
Dr. Nicolai condemns all war of every description: revolu- 


tionary and defensive wars he would put in a category by 
themselves as justifiable. That wars may be prevented he 
urges that a society of nations should be constructed; and 
the brotherhood of man and the strengthening of all human 
bonds, whether between the members of the family of nations 
or between members of a human family, must become reali- 
ties, not ideals. It may be that he does not regard the ques- 
tion from precisely the same angle as President Wilson, but 
his main lines of thought are the same. 

The book, as we have hinted, is reasoned out like Euclid, 
wherefore it is useless, interesting as it may be, to dip into 
it and read a chapter here and another there. No real idea 
of the author's meaning can be gained thus, and it would 
be an injustice to what we think most readers will agree is, 
beyond doubt, the most remarkable book which this war has 
yet produced, a volume likely to live in history even when the 
scientific ideas which it contains have been superseded by the 
wider knowledge of generations to come. 

Constance A. Grande 

Julian Grande 

Berne, Switzerland, 
June, 1918. 

Postscript — Since writing the above the world outside Ger- 
many has been gratified to learn that Professor Nicolai has 
escaped from Germany in a German aeroplane and has 
reached Denmark. The aeroplane was the ''Albatross 3415" 
and of a somewhat old-fashioned type. Dr. Nicolai 's com- 
panion on board was Dr. Silberhorn, a German subaltern. 
A second aeroplane, the "F. 16," accompanied the ** Alba- 
tross 3415." On board were a lance-corporal and a pilot, both 
Germans. As neither Professor Nicolai nor his companions 
were armed, they have not been interned. At present it is 
better to refrain from giving details of this escape. 



§ 1. — Its Condemnatory Tone as Regards Germany 

The outward and visible cause why this book was written 
was the manifesto to the civilized world published in the early- 
days of October, 1914, by ninety-three representatives of Ger- 
man science and art. The unfortunate effects of this could 
easily have been foreseen by any dispassionate person. Al- 
though probably every one would now admit that the dispas- 
sionate few of those days had right on their side, yet many 
will disapprove of the selection of a German manifesto as a 
peg on which to hang a book, urging that there are surely 
enough reprehensible manifestos published outside Germany. 
This German manifesto, however, was the cause of this work, 
which, I hasten to insist, is written primarily for Germans. 
Consequently, wherever isolated events are discussed, it is in 
the main only German conditions which are under considera- 

Apart from the fact that it is impossible to gain a correct 
idea of foreign opinion from the fragmentary extracts quoted 
from the foreign press, the only way to attain the necessary 
independence of mind is not to inquire whether other nations 
besides Germany have been to blame, and to endeavor to make 
sure no one can cast a stone at us. More than ever is it to-day 
incumbent on every person and every nation to shoulder his 
or its share of responsibility for the war. Even supposing 
that any foreign learned society had issued a more regrettable 
manifesto than this hot-blooded appeal, which is excusable, 
considering the anxious time when it was drafted; yet those 



who have genuine German civilization at heart are the very 
persons who need not concern themselves much about foreign 
manifestos, since Germany and Germany alone is responsible 
for her own words and deeds. 

These preliminary observations are necessary because other- 
wise the fact that it is mainly Germany which is instanced 
as exemplifying the bad effects of war might have made it 
appear as if this book were an unconditional acknowledgment 
of the justice of the view that it is the German people who 
have been guilty of by far the worst barbarities. 

Again, every nation in the world can and even ought to 
"hope that it and its institutions will one day serve as a model 
for a whole world full of reforming zeal; for such a hope is 
the strongest incentive to progress. But if Germany enter- 
tains any such expectation, she must redouble her efforts to 
revive the old German idealism and to keep it pure and un- 

"Volk, o deutsches Volk, die miissen am grobsten dich schelten. 
Die dich in Herzens Grund immer am meisten geliebt.^ 

Now, just because this manifesto was apparently likely to 
give the lie to our glorious past, it cannot fail to cause every 
true patriot and friend of humanity (the one ought not to ex- 
clude the other) to protest.^ 

1 "Epigramme aus Baden-Baden," by Th. Fischer, 1876. Stuttgart. 
"Hass und Liebe," p. 33. 

2 For truth's sake it must be observed that, at any rate, some of the 
signatories now regret their action. Even in December, 1914, they 
wrote, telling me as much, so that it would seem as if the intoxication 
which could so greatly obscure their conceptions of truth and impartial- 
ity must have been comparatively short-lived. I may also state that in 
June, 1915, when this manifesto was reprinted in the "Aktion," without 
a word of comment, one of the signatories wrote to that journal, stating 
that he must protest against such a document being reprinted, for "of 
course" he no longer held such views, "and it was an insult to continue 
to impute them to him." In itself such a rapid change of mind is cause 
for satisfaction, but it is amusing that this signatory should consider it 
an insult not to be instantly taken for a chameleon. 


§ 2. — The Manifesto to the Civilized World 

The full text of this notorious document is as follows: 

As representatives of German science and art we protest before 
the whole civilized world against the calumnies and lies with which 
our enemies are striving to besmirch Germany's undefiled cause in 
the severe struggle for existence which has been forced upon her. 
The course of events has mercilessly disproved the reports of fictitious 
German defeats. All the more vigorous are the efforts now being 
made to distort truth and disseminate suspicion. It is against 
these that we are raising our voices, and those voices shall make 
the truth known. 


Neither the nation nor the Government nor the emperor wanted 
it. The Germans did everything possible to avert it, documentary 
evidence of which is before all the world. In the twenty-six years of 
his reign William II has frequently shown himself the defender of 
the world^s peace, as has frequently been acknowledged even by 
our enemies. Indeed, this same emperor, whom they are now pre- 
suming to call an Attila, was ridiculed for twenty years and more 
because of his unswerving devotion to peace. Not until our people 
was attacked from three sides by superior forces, which had long 
been lying in wait at the frontier, did it rise as one man. 



It can be proved that France and England had resolved to violate 
it, and it can be proved that Belgium had agreed to this. It would 
have been suicidal not to have anticipated them.^ 

1 On August 14, 1914, Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg, then German 
Chancellor, said in the Reichstag: "Gentlemen, we stand now perforce 
on guard. Necessity knows no law. Our troops have occupied Lux- 
emburg, possibly trodden Belgian soil. Gentlemen, this is contrary to 
international law. ... In this way we have been forced to override the 
justifiable protests of the Belgian and Luxemburg governments. We 
shall repair the injustice which we are committing as soon as our mili- 
tary object is attained." 





Again and again, despite all warnings, did the population lie in 
ambush and fire on them, mutilating wounded men, and murdering 
doctors even while actually engaged in their noble ministrations. 
There could be no baser misrepresentation than to say nothing about 
the crime of these assassins and then to call the Germans criminals 
because of their having administered a just punishment to them. 



They were forced to exercise reprisals with a heavy heart on the 
furious population, which treacherously attacked them in their 
quarters, by firing upon a portion of the town. The greater por- 
tion of Louvain is still standing, and the famous town hall is quite 
uninjured. It was saved from the flames owing to the self-sacrifice 
of our soldiers. Every German would regret works of art having 
been destroyed in this war or their being destroyed in the future. 
But just as we decline to admit tliat any one loves art more than 
we do, even so do we refuse no less decidedly to pay the price of a 
German defeat for the preservation of a work of art. 


But in the East the ground is soaked with the blood of women 
and children slain by Russian hordes, and in the West the breasts of 
our soldiers are lacerated with Dumdum bullets. No one has less 
right to pretend to be defending European civilization than those 
who are the allies of Russians and Serbians, and are not ashamed 
to incite Mongolians and negroes to fight against white men. 




Without German militarism German civilization would be wiped 
off the face of the earth. The former arose out of and for the 


protection of the latter in a country which for centuries had suffered 
from invasion as no other has done. The German Army and the 
German people are one, and the consciousness of this makes seventy 
millions of Germans brothers to-day, without regard to education, 
rank, or party. 

We cannot deprive our enemies of the poisoned weapons of false- 
hood. All we can do is to cry aloud to the whole world that they 
are bearing false witness against us. To you who know us, who, 
together with us, have hitherto been the guardians of man's highest 
possessions — to you w^e cry aloud, "Believe us; believe that to the 
last we will fight as a civilized nation, to whom the legacy of a 
Goethe, a Beethoven, and a Kant is no less sacred than hearth and 

This we vouchsafe to you on the faith of our name and our honor. 

The manifesto vt^as signed by the following seventeen artists 
actually practising their profession : Peter Behrends, Franz 
von Defregger, Wilhelm Dorpfeld, Eduard von Gebhardt, 
Adolf von Hildebrand, Ludwig Hoffmann, Leopold Graf 
Kalkreuth, Arthur Kampf, Fritz Aug. von Kaulbach, Max 
Klinger, Max Liebermann, Ludwig Manzel, Bruno Paul, Fritz 
Schaper, Franz von Stuck, Hans Thoma, Wilh. Triibner. 

By these fifteen natural scientists: Adolf von Beyer, Karl 
Engler, Emil Fischer, Wilhelm Foerster, Fritz Haber, Ernst 
Haeckel, Gustav Hellmann, Felix Klein, Philipp Lenard, 
Walter Nernst, Wilhelm Ostwald, Max Planck, Wilhelm Ront- 
gen, Wilhelm Wien, Richard Willstatter. 

By these twelve theologians : Adolf Deissmann, Albert Ehr- 
hard, Gerhard Esser, Adolf von Harnack, Wilhelm Herrmann, 
Alois Knopfler, Anton Koch, Josef Mausbach, Sebastian Mer- 
kle, Adolf von Schlatter, August Schmidlin, and Reinhold 

By these nine poets: Richard Dehmel, Herbert Eulen- 
berg, Ludwig Fulda, Max Halbe, Gerhard and Karl Haupt- 
mann, Hermann Sudermann, Karl Yollmoller, and Richard 

By these seven jurists; Lujo Brentano, Johannes Conrad, 


Theodor Kipp, Paul Laband, Franz von Liszt, Georg von 
Mayr, and Gustav von SchmoUer. 

By these seven medical men : Emil von Behring, Paul Ehr- 
lich, Albert Neisser, Albert Plehn, Max Rubner, Wilhelm 
Waldeyer, and August von Wassermann. 

By these seven historians: Heinrich Finke, J. J. de Groot, 
Karl Lamprecht, Maximilian Lenz, Eduard Meyer, Karl Rob- 
ert, and Martin Spahn. 

By these five art critics : Wilhelm von Bode, Alois Brandt, 
Justus Brinkmann, Friedrich von Duhn, and Theodor Wie- 

By these four philosophers: Rudolf Eucken, Alois Riehl, 
Wilhelm Windelband, and Wilh. Wundt. 

By these four philologists: Andreas Heusler, Heinrich 
Morf, Karl Vossler, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff. 

By these three musicians: Engelbert Humperdinck, Sieg- 
fried Wagner, and Felix von Weingartner. 

By these two politicians: Friedrich Naumann and Georg 

By this theatrical manager: Max Reinhardt. 

§ 3. — German Truths Past and Present 

This document, therefore, was signed altogether by ninety- 
three German men, some of them very well known. Among 
them were fifteen natural scientists. Even if this is not a 
very large number in comparison with the seventy-eight 
other signatories (thirty-five representatives of art and let- 
ters, sixteen moral philosophers, twenty scientists of various 
kinds, and seven medical men), yet it includes almost all 
Germans of real celebrity in this branch of science. Now, 
the wording of the manifesto alone ought to have horrified 
any natural scientist even if he approved of its tenor. I 
shall not discuss the fairness of rejecting the mendacities of 
foreign newspapers without mentioning the lying war news of 
the German press. The fact remains, however, that every 
one then knew, for instance, how little the German Com- 


mission of Inquiry into Belgian atrocities was really able to 
ascertain. It might of course be argued that it was no busi- 
ness of the signatories to have referred to this even although 
the mere hint that the vile charges brought against enemy 
soldiers were not believed made certain manifestos of foreign 
intellectuals appear friendly. 

Six times, however, does this manifesto contain the words, 
*'It is not true.'^ Now, five of the six points raised unques- 
tionably cannot be thus flatly denied. Whether a person has 
or has not been guilty of a particular action (Paragraph 1), 
whether he has committed a crime or acted under compulsion 
(Paragraph 2), whether he is exercising reprisals brutally or 
with a heavy heart (Paragraph 4), whether imperialism and 
civilization are irreconcilable or go hand in hand (Paragraph 
6), and finally whether a person has acted with or without 
regard to the ill-defined, vague precepts of international 
law (Paragraph 5), cannot be positively asserted by any one, 
and in each individual case opinion depends upon individual 
sense of justice. 

Even in Paragraphs 3 and 5, where definite details were 
cited as to what had been done in Belgium and East Prussia, 
the categorical statement, **It is not true," seems for other, 
but not less sound reasons, misplaced, since at best such evi- 
dence can have been only hearsay *'from a thoroughly trust- 
worthy source. ' ' Above all, no one can with a good conscience 
support the negative assertion that ''the life and property of 
not a single Belgian subject were interfered with except under 
necessity. ' ' 

Every one is naturally entitled to consider anything as 
truth of the correctness of which he is morally convinced un- 
less he is posing as a ''representative of science"; for it is 
the chief distinction of a man of science not to call anything 
true unless he be convinced by impartial observation that it 
is so. The recognition that there is such a thing as this im- 
partially established truth is a debt which the present gen- 
eration owes in part to German thoroughness, and the patriot- 


ism of departing from it cannot be accepted without question. 

The three main witnesses invoked, Goethe, Beethoven, and 
Kant, would scarcely have signed such a manifesto, for all 
three preserved their impartiality even in time of war. 
Goethe, indeed, especially during the Wars of German Inde- 
pendence, was often enough blamed for his impartiality, and 
subsequently for his sharp condemnation of *' German gush 
about the Fatherland. ' ' ^ Once, in his irritation, he went 
the length of saying, *'The world may still have to wait a 
couple of hundred years before it can be said of the Germans 
that it was a long while since they were barbarians. ' ' ^ 

As for Kant, it was during the first Coalition War that he 
published his plan for perpetual peace, in which, with praise- 
worthy independence, he breaks a lance in favor of French 
institutions, just then being opposed by his own country. 
Moreover, the founder of critical philosophy would never 
have described as truth what could be only a matter of opin- 

Finally, Beethoven's last great work, the Ninth Symphony, 
is a hymn of praise to universal brotherhood, while he dedi- 
cated the Third Symphony, the one which he himself con- 
sidered his finest, to Germany's arch enemy, Bonaparte.^ 

I agree with the signatories of the manifesto in believing 
that German ideas will prevail if the legacy bequeathed to 
the Germans by these three shining lights is to them ''as 
sacred as their worldly goods. ' ' To me, however, it seems no 
mere chance that these three greatest Germans should have 
differed from the present generation in their ideas about dis- 
putes between nation and nation; for despite technical sci- 

1 Goethe's letter to Zelter, August 24, 1823. 

2 Eckermann's "Conversations with Goethe," Thursday, May 3, 1827. 
Brockhaus, 7th Ed., Vol. Ill, p. 114. 

3 This is not inconsistent with the fact that afterward, when Napo- 
leon became emperor, Beethoven revoked the "Dedication to the Con- 
sul." He considered the Emperor Napoleon as an enemy of human 


ence, soldiery, and trade, the peculiar virtue of the German is 
still a certain faculty of just appreciation. For us Germans 
the upward path may be by way of Essen, Potsdam, and 
Hamburg, but it must not leave Weimar out of account. 

This manifesto, which was apparently the negation of every 
great and fine quality which had hitherto been attributed to 
and expected from men of science, was signed by Germany's 
greatest sons; and this was the sort of truth for which Ger- 
many's most honored seekers after truth interceded. Some, 
certainly, were able to excuse themselves, if it be an excuse, by 
urging that they had never read the manifesto, but had allowed 
their signatures to be appended to it on the strength of a tele- 
gram from Herr Erzberger, the well-known Center party 
deputy. Erzberger as an apostle of German science and 
learning! In any case, it would be well to inquire some- 
what more closely into the unquestionably very singular man- 
ner in which this manifesto came to be launched. 

§ 4. — A Manifesto to Europeans 

The fact remains, however, that this manifesto was pub- 
lished and distributed broadcast ; and considering how the war 
seemed to have metamorphosed men of science, it seemed de- 
sirable, not to say necessary, to appeal to a wider public es- 
pecially to maintain a uniform conception of civilization, just 
then divided. For although only the few are capable of pro- 
moting civilization, yet it is by the standard of popular feeling 
that the maintenance of its continuity is insured. In mid- 
October, 1914, therefore, together with Professor Albert Ein- 
stein and Privy Councilor Wilhelm Forster, I drafted the fol- 
lowing manifesto : 

Technical science and intercommunication are clearly tending to 
force us to recognize the fact that international relations exist, and 
consequently that a world-embracing civilization exists. Yet never 
has any previous war caused so complete an interruption of that 


cooperation which should exist between civilized nations. It may, 
of course, be that the reason why we are so profoundly impressed by 
this is only that we were already united by so many ties the severing 
of which is painful. 

That such a state of things should exist must not astonish us. 
Nevertheless, those who care in the slightest degree for this universal 
world civilization are under a twofold obligation to strive for the 
maintenance of these principles. Those who might have been ex- 
pected to care for such things, in particular men of science and art, 
have hitherto almost invariably confined their utterances to a hint 
that the present suspension of direct relations coincided with the 
cessation of any desire for their continuance. 

Such feelings are not to be excused by any national passions. 
They are unworthy of what every one has hitherto understood by 
civilization, and it would be a misfortune indeed were they generally 
to prevail among persons of culture; and not only a misfortune 
for civilization, but, we are firmly convinced, a misfortune for 
the very purpose for which, after all, in the last resort all the 
present hell was let loose — the national existence of the different 

Technical achievement has made the world smaller, and to-day 
the countries of that large peninsula Europe seem brought as near 
to one another as the cities of each individual small Mediterranean 
peninsula used to be ; and Europe — it might almost be said the world 
— is already one and indivisible, owing to its multitudinous associa- 

Hence it must be the duty of educated and philanthropic Euro- 
peans to make, at any rate, an effort lest Europe, owing to her not 
being sufficiently strongly welded together, should suffer the same 
tragic fate as ancient Greece. Is Europe gradually to be exhausted 
by fratricidal war and perish? 

The war raging at present will scarcely end in a victory for any 
one, but probably only in defeat. Consequently, it would seem that 
educated men in all countries not only should, but absolutely must, 
exert all their influence to prevent the conditions of peace being the 
source of future wars, and this no matter what the present uncertain 
issue of the conflict may be. Above all must they direct their efforts 
to seeing that advantage is taken of the fact that this war has thrown 
all European conditions, as it were, into a melting-pot, to mold Eu- 


rope into one organic whole, for which both technical and intel- 
lectual conditions are ripe. 

This is not the place to discuss how this new European order is 
to be brought about. We desire only to assert in principle that we 
are firmly convinced of the time having come for all Europe to be 
united together, in order to protect her soil, her inhabitants, and 
her civilization.^ 

Believing as we do that the desire for such a state of things 
is latent in many minds, we are anxious that it should everywhere 
find expression and thus become a force; and with this end in 
view it seems to us before all else necessary that there should be a 
union of all in any way attached to European civilization ; ^ that is 
to say, who are what Goethe once almost prophetically called "good 
Europeans." We must never abandon hope that their collective 
pronouncement may be heard by some one even amidst the clash of 
arms, most especially if the "good Europeans" of to-morrow include 
all those who are esteemed and considered as authorities by their 

To begin with, however, it is needful that Europeans should unite, 
and if, as we hope, there are enough Europeans in Europe, — in 
other words, enough persons to whom Europe is no mere geograph- 
ical term, but something which they have profoundly at heart, — 
then we mean to attempt to found such a union of Europeans. 
We ourselves wish only to give the first impulse to such a union; 
wherefore we ask you, should you be in agreement with us, and, like 
us, bent upon making the determination of Europe as widely known 
as possible, to send us your signature. 

This appeal was sent out privately, and although we re- 
ceived many sympathetic letters about it, yet most of the 
writers declined to sign it. One did not consider the reference 
to Greece quite historically accurate, another thought that the 
time had gone by for such a manifesto, another that it was 

1 Whether this protection is to be insured with weapons from the 
armory of force or of mind, need not be discussed here. At all events, 
Europe must learn to feel herself united into one. (Cf. Chapter III 
"War and Natural Selection," Chap. Ill, % 34. ) 

2 By European civilization I mean every endeavor, in the broad sense 
of the word, throughout the world the origin of which can ultimately 
be traced back to Europe. 


premature, and yet another that it was undesirable that scien- 
tists should mix themselves up in the hurly-burly of the world. 
Obviously it would not have been feasible to reconcile the views 
of any considerable number of men of independent mind even 
if in principle they might all be striving after the same objects. 
Therefore, as a brief manifesto of this kind could have value 
only if backed by well-known names, we allowed the plan to 

§ 5. — The Personal Sense of Individual Besponsihility 

In the circumstances it seemed to me that I was bound to 
raise my individual voice and express what I honestly believed 
to be the rights and the stern necessities of the situation, giving 
the best reasons I could for the faith that was in me. There- 
fore I announced for the summer term of 1915 a lecture on 
**War as a Biological Factor in Human Evolution, '^ and be- 
gan to collect material for it. My being called up as a doctor, 
and my subsequent imprisonment in the fortress of Graudenz, 
made it impossible to carry out this plan ; and the only course 
open to me was to work up into a book the notes intended for 
a lecture. I am still of opinion that it is just during this war 
that a peace book should be written. It is during this fratri- 
cidal European struggle that we must insist upon being con- 
sidered as a single unit. This is necessary not because of a 
handful of scholars who happened to wander a little from the 
straight path, — they will soon recover themselves, — ^but be- 
cause of the countless other persons who now do not know 
what to do with their lives, who must begin again from the 
beginning both literally and metaphorically. In the case of 
all of them many ideals have been destroyed — ideals which 
may have been confused, but were deep-rooted. For these 
people I resolved to write a book, assuring them that here on 
earth war is only a passing phase, to which too much im- 
portance must not be attached. To achieve my purpose and 
inspire fair-minded and right-thinking men with my own tri- 
umphant assurance, I have also endeavored to set forth a vital 


conception of the problem of war, in order that every one may 
feel he has some solid ground under his feet and may again 
know which way to turn. 

Thus did this peace book come into being in the midst of the 
military life of the Fortress of Graudenz. The small fortress 
was both a hindrance and an incentive to its writing. It was 
an obstacle because of the lack of books and the absence of 
friends who could have advised me on matters of which I have 
no expert knowledge. Nevertheless, some friends did do much 
to help me, both by pointing out many defects and making 
emendations, for which I desire once more to tender them 
thanks. Again, unfortunately, there were some quotations of 
which I had taken only hasty notes, meaning to base an oral 
lecture upon them, and which I was now prevented from com- 
paring with the full text. Yet this was just what I ought to 
have been able to do, for what I wanted to prove was that 
there has never been a single man of real eminence who has 
seen anything great or beautiful in war. This I meant to 
do by citing numbers of passages from poets and writers in 
general, which I had taken much pains to collect; but the 
mass of material was so overwhelming that I could give only 
a small portion of it in the last part of my book. I admit 
that, however great the quantity of material, it would not have 
been possible to prove any such negative contention absolutely 
conclusively, for some one would always have been able to say 
that the enthusiasts for war had been left out of account. 
But let any one of those intellectuals, carried away by the 
intoxication of the moment, attempt to prove the contrary.* 

I have referred to the obstacles with which I had to con- 
tend. Let me now mention the incentive to my work. One 
constant incentive was the Fritz Renter room ^ in the fortress. 

1 Cf . Chapter XIV. 

2 Fritz Reuter, German humorist, 1810-74. He was a member of the 
German Students' Society, and in 1833 was arrested and condemned to 
death, the sentence being afterward commuted to one of thirty years* 
imprisonment. He was liberated in 1840, on the accession of Frederick 
William IV of Prussia. — Translator. 


This room, where this German patriot spent years in captivity 
because he believed in Germany, has been converted into a 
temple by his former jailers, which is a living instance of the 
fact that reaction cannot endure forever. We may be quite 
sure that the very same persons who to-day still continue to 
decry as high treason Goethe's conception of the citizen of 
Europe will in a few years' time be subscribing to it, even as 
the successor of the commandant of Courbiere Fortress, once 
Renter's jailer, is now keeping his cell in order as a museum. 

Just as certain of our forefathers in advance of their time 
enthusiastically advocated a united Germany, even so do we 
mean to fight for a united Europe. That is the hope inspiring 
this book; and if I should succeed in convincing even a few 
persons that the term ** citizen of Europe" is justified on 
grounds alike of ethics and natural science, thereby render- 
ing another war a shade less likely, then I should feel that this 
was a reward for my work for which I scarcely ventured to 

Come what may, however, this book had to be written. 

Graudenz, in the summer of 1915. 


§ 6. — War as a NatHiral Phenomenon or Human Act 

The so-called "objective methods of reasoning" seem to us 
the highest achievement of modern science. The fact must 
not be overlooked, however, that the methods alone ought to 
be objective or impartial. The isolated facts must be impar- 
tially collected, but the inferences therefrom will always con- 
tain an element of hypothesis, and consequently a certain per- 
sonal element as well. Poincare,^ Lorentz, and Einstein, them- 
selves leading mathematicians, — that is to say, representatives 

1 Jules Henri Poincare, 1854-1912, French mathematician, in 1886 
appointed professor at the University of Paris. — Translator. 


of the most objective science, — recently pointed this out, but 
the points of view they adopt could not be more divergent. 
Now, if this is true of mathematics, how much more is it true 
of physics, of natural science, and of all those branches of 
knowledge in which efforts have been made to apply natural 
science merely as a method ? 

It is just here that a false objectivity is harmful, as the 
enemies of natural science know only too well. Thus, one of 
them recently remarked that no one really knew for certain 
who his father was ; that he cannot even positively rely upon 
his mother's statements, for he has to depend upon what she, 
the doctor, or the midwife say, which may or may not be 
true. As we do not know even our own parents, it is argued, 
how can we positively prove whether our remote ancestors 
were descended from monkeys or not ? 

It is easy to see that by thus overstraining the conception 
of what constitutes proof, an obstacle is put in the way of all 
increase of knowledge. Such overscrupulousness can never 
do any good, and at best it helps only those who always see 
two sides of a question, and who would fain rescue not only 
truth for truth's sake, but many an article of faith besides. 

In any case, our positive knowledge is more increased by a 
courageous one-sidedness than by that elegant half-heartedness 
which is everlastingly trying to adjust facts, and which is in 
no circumstances capable of doing more than correct defects, 
never of creating anything new. Every one, indeed, feels in- 
stinctively that it amounts to an utter lack of either intellect 
or style. Our age, however, always anxious to be impartial 
and fair ''all round," quite seriously imagines that faith and 
science, beauty and fashion, art and money-making, war and 
humanity, liberal and socialistic ideas, internationalism and 
nationalism, and much else besides, are still reconcilable with 
one another. Such impartiality is in itself never justified. 
In the case of natural phenomena, however, it can, at any rate, 
be partly understood, because there is no cogent reason why 
we should apply one epithet to them and one only. Thus it is 


allowable to describe the eruption of a volcano as both beauti- 
ful and destructive; we may note the grace of a tiger's spring 
without for a moment forgetting that it may cost the life of 
a human being. The volcano is undoubtedly part of nature, 
which has no choice but to obey certain fixed laws, and the 
tiger may be considered in the same light. They are natural 
phenomena, the effects of which we can change (for instance, 
by not inhabiting volcanic districts and by exterminating the 
tiger), but which themselves will never change. This is per- 
haps why man as an onlooker is entitled to consider them from 
whatever point of view he chooses. In the case of human 
action it is quite different, for so long as we refuse to give up 
the right of insisting upon our own individuality and pur- 
suing our own purposes, so long must we judge man's acts 
absolutely as those of an individual man. War, however, is 
a human action, and must be judged accordingly. Any mid- 
dle course would tend to confusion, and in short be almost 
contrary to morality.^ 

We may love or hate war. Like good old Herbart,^ we 
may say that "we delight not in strife," or, like Ihering, in 
his love of battle, that "we delight in strife"; but what we 
may not do is to disapprove of it or excuse it in principle be- 
cause of all its accompanying circumstances. War, like every- 
thing else, should have light thrown upon it from every side 
before being criticized, but to none but mediocrities would it 
occur to criticize war from every point of view or even from 
only two. 

These preliminary remarks are essential in order to show 
in what sense this book may claim to be impartial or ob- 
jective. I have endeavored to collect the material as impar- 
tially as possible, and while working it up afterward I had 
always one main conception present to my mind — the con- 
ception of humanity. This conception can also be objectively 

1 Of. what Kant has said about the analysis of the Sublime ("Critique 
of Pure Reason," I, H 23). Cf. also § 153 of this present work. 

2 German philosopher, 1776-1841. — Translator. 


expressed as the fact that there is only one human race, which 
can be proved to form one organism. This, however, is an- 
ticipating matters, for the main purpose of this book is to 
prove that there is a sound logical basis for the conception of 



Introduction v 

THE ORIGIN OP THIS BOOK — Its condemnatory tone as regards 
Germany — the manifesto to the civilized world — German truth, 
past and present — a manifesto to Europeans — the personal sense 
of individual resv)OUsibility. 

THE POINT OF VIEW OP THIS BOOK — War as a natural phe- 
nomenon or human act. 

Chapter I. War Instincts 

THE IMPORTANCE OP INSTINCTS — War instincts versus pacifism 
— the value of instinct — advantages and disadvantages of instinct 
— man as master of his instincts. 

TRIBAL INSTINCTS — Man's original tendency to live in hordes. 

ness of animals — the impossibility of war without property. 

THE NATURAL PRICE OP WAR — War and slavery — the uses of 

Chapter II. War and the Struggle for Life ... 25 

THE BASES OP WAR — Darwinism — the fundamental law of growth 
and the limits of size — the impassable barrier. 

THE STRUGGLE FOR ENERGY — Why this struggle is waged — 
struggle in the animal world — human struggle on animal lines. 

THE STRUGGLE OF MANKIND — Increase of vitality — the utilization 
of extraneous energy — creative struggle and war of extermination. 

unfettered harmony — the evolution of the brain — the autonomy of 
the brain — war as a free human act. 

Chapter III. Selection By Means of War ... 66 

SELECTION AND EDUCATION — Positive and negative selection — 
the trend of selection — wise and foolish — the effect of war on the 
development of intelligence — the futility of wars today — what a 
war of extermination means. 

THE ALLEGED TONIC EFFECTS OP WAR — The hardening and ener- 
vating effects of war and peace — war weariness — the injury done 
to the brain by war — the influence of war on the birth-rate — the 
reenforcement of the sense of power. 

THE SPECIFIC EFFECTS OF WAR— Its alleged cruelty— man as 
subject and object of warfare — killing and dying — bloodthirstiness 
— the brutalizing effects of war. 

— defective sense of responsil)ility — insults and libels — training to 
hate — training to lie — FrancTireur warfare — war and art. 


xxviii / CONTENTS 


Chapter IV. The Chosen People 139 

WAR — The injury to the world in general — the advantages of 
war to an individual nation — the unprotitableness of war to-day. 

advantages of colonies — colonial possessions and colonial domina- 

empty laurels — the decay of world-wide empires — the economic 
effects of war — national influence — the sword for the weak. 

Chapter V. How War Is Being Metamorphosed . . 169 

THE DUSK OF THE WAR GODS— The growth of armies— the death 
agony of the war giant — defensive warfare and lying. 

THE HUJklANIZING OF WAR— The principle of humaneness— the 
theory and practice of noble war — the value of humanitarian ef- 

this — what are the facts i — the mischief of overestimating the art 
of war. 

WAR AND THE SENSE OF SOLIDARITY — The decline of comrade- 
ship — results of the separation between officers and men ' 

Chapter VI. How the Army has Been Transformed 214 

national army — a question wrongly worded — the three reasons for 
the introduction of professional armies. 

meaning of militia — the rise of a hireling army in Germany — -the 
rise of an army of mercenaries in Prussia — the 1807 reorganiza- 
tion committee — the reaction of the military party. 

THE PRUSSIAN MILITIA — The people's militia — the royal militia — 
the transformation during the wars of liberation. 

army and revolution — universal military service in Europe. 

Chapter VII. Wherein Patriotism Is Rooted . . . 250 

dence — the commanding position of patriotism — our love for our 
native land — overcoming our love of our native soil — the organic 
family instinct — the change in racial instincts. 


Chapter VIII. Different Species of Patriotism . . 264 

LOCAL PATRIOTISM — Natural Patriotism — true and false patriotism 
DYNASTIC OWNERSHIP — The affection of subjects — Prusso-German 
and AustroGerman — the free association of states. 

RACE PATRIOTISM — Tlie problem of race — the value of race purity 
— historical and linguistic races — physical racial characteristics — 
the mixture of races in Gerinany — Germans and Teutons — the Eu- 
ropean race. 

CIVILIZATION AND PATRIOTISM— The multiplicity of combina- 
tions — states within a state — language as a formative element of 
states — the ideal of European patriotism. 



Chapter IX. Unjustifiable Chauvinism .... 302 

SELFISHNESS AND LOVE — Love of one's country not real love, 
MASS SUGGESTION — Mass feeling among animals — mass-feeling 
among men. 

There is no demarcation between patriotism and chauvinism — war 
as a necessary condition — self-praise and fear. 

— Civilization as an organism — the internationalism of civilization 
— the effect of chauvinism upon civilization in general — the special 
effect of war. 

Chapter X. The Legitimate Individualism of Nations 334 

THE CONCEPTION OF PERSONALITY— The right to individuality— 
the restriction of personality — the primacy of the reason — nations 
as individual units. 

dividual nations — the excellences of their defects, 

civilization — originality — the period of German greatness — German 
adaptability — overstraining of adaptability. 

tarism — German love of liberty — three reasons why German liberty 
has taken a wrong turn — "the absolute" — bethink yourself 1 

Chapter XI. Altruism 379 

OVERCOMING PESSIMISM — Germany's mission — the new empire — 
natural right — right and cosmopolitanism, 

RIGHT AND WAR — The law of nations — the right of reprisals — the 
right of the stronger — evolution and revolution — war and the 
judgment of God. 

law and purpose — inborn rights — the right to war — the law of the 

THE HISTORY OF ALTRUISM— The twofold basis of altruism— the 
development of the "English" doctrine of utilitarianism — the evolu- 
tion of Kantian morality — the abuse of Kant's doctrine — a change 
of parts and a comedy in consequence — the inadequacy of both bases 
of morality. 



Chapter XII. The Evolution of the Idea of the 

World as an Organism 431 

THE HELLENIC PERIOD — The first presentiments of there being a 
soul in this world — the Post-Socratios. 

THE CHRISTIAN ERA — The scholastic victory over primitive Chris- 
tendom — Renaissance and reaction. 

THE MODERN PERIOD — Its forerunners — modern empiricism. 



Chapter XIII. The World as an Organism . . . 447 

ISM — Hypotheses and facts — the continuity of germ plasm — earthly 
love makes heavenly love possible. 

tion — the mother of war instincts. 

SPACE — Man's connections from the point of view of time — man's 
connections in regard to space. 

and intercommunication — speech as a means of intercommunication 
— the results of intercommunication — the connection between inter- 
communication and the greatness of countries — premature attempts 
t» attain a universal monarchy. 

Chapter XIV. The Transformation in Human Judg- 
ment 478 

THE PERIODICITY OF OPINIONS— Contradictory views— the idea of 
evolution as the solution of the difficulty — love of war, ancient and 

THE VOICE OP NATIONS — The antique — more recent times — the 
transition to modern times — soldiers and diplomatists. 

WAR POETRY — Dramatic war poetry — lyric poetry — the three Ger- 
man poets of war — the poet and liberty. 

MODERN DELIGHT IN WAR — The renascence of delight in war — 

Moltke and his> school — instances from the writings of war advo- 

Chapter XV. War and Religion 528 

RELIGION AND LOVE OP PEACE— The older religions — the old 
Testament a Jewish National Book — the brotherhood of man. 

THE DILUTION OF CHRISTIANITY — The practical compromise be- 
tween Christian doctrine and war — the theoretical compromise of 
the middle ages — the theoretical compromise ot modern times. 

Kant — the compromise of Buddhism. 

THE NEW RELIGION — The meaning of every religion — ^the religion of 
humanity — uniformity of moral law. 




War Instincts 

1. — the importance of instincts 

§ 7. — War Instincts Versus Pacifism 

For thousands of years past war has been hateful. No 
thoughtful person has ever yet had anything good to say for it ; 
at any rate, not if he thought fit to take the responsibility for 
his ideas to the extent of committing them to writing. And 
now almost every one adores and glorifies war; at all events, 
they did so in Germany at the beginning of this present war. 
There is clearly something wrong about this. It is unlikely 
that the German should suddenly have revolutionized his in- 
stincts, thus creating a new variety of human being; and 
hence it would simply seem as if either educated men of all 
times or men of to-day had been mistaken. In reality both 
were mistaken. Chaste ears cannot endure the mention of 
what chaste hearts cannot dispense with ; but reason never will 
and never can justify war, and all attempts of modern men 
to justify it have failed miserably. The ancients knew that 
war could not be justified, and therefore they cursed it; but 
they did not realize how strong is the war instinct of man, 
which is more deeply ingrained in him than any kind of 
reason. The moderns have had practical experience of this — 
an experience which filled them sometimes with horror and 
sometimes with admiration; but they again are mistaken in 



believing that because instinct is so strong in all of us, there- 
fore it is commendable. 

In even the sincerest opponents of war there is a certain 
hankering after war. A primeval impulse, a something remi- 
niscent of the most secret wellsprings of human strength, at- 
taches us to it. Even the best of the Germans, for instance, 
is at heart and always has been mildly proud of having made 
his first appearance in history as the conqueror and destroyer 
of the Roman Empire, which in itself does not mean much, 
since all nations first entered their country as conquerors, and 
even the Jews, assuredly not a warlike people, first had to 
conquer Canaan. 

Now, the fact remains that we still have these reminiscences, 
and although we may be otherwise human, yet there is in all 
of us a * * tiny fragment of earth, ' ' which we in Germany quite 
rightly describe as "furor teutonicusJ' In short, whoever 
becomes involved in a war is always dazzled, by the magnificent 
aspect of so gigantic an event. Delight in war, like an oc- 
cult instinct, is in a nation's very blood, and when the time 
comes, it awakes and manifests itself. In time of peace such 
intoxication must be artificially created, which in the case of 
the Bavarian can be done by means of beer, and he becomes 
rowdy. An English sailor uses his fists after drinking enough 
whisky, the Russian in the joys of vodka beats himself or, at 
any rate, his wife, and the southern Frenchman or Italian, 
when wine has gone to his head, seizes his knife. 

It is when nations are overcome by the intoxication of war 
that rowdiness, blows, and the use of fists and knives become 
general. Then the French are no longer ' ' decadent praters, ' ' 
the Britons as "passive as cows," the Russians "sickly 
dreamers," the Italians " gambling Lovelaces," or the Germans 
' ' idealists forever droning about humanity. ' ' One and all be- 
come men of action, aflame and afire for war; and it is pre- 
cisely the fact that the war fever has infected them all which 
proves that it is an instinct innate in the human race, ever 
ready to break out. 


Because delight in war seemed an instinct wholly uncon- 
nected with the powers of reflection, it was considered sacred ; 
* * for, ' ' we were told, * ' instincts are man 's most valuable pos- 
session, and if a nation once loses its right instincts and fol- 
lows wrong ones, it is lost.'* Now, the second part of this 
sentence contradicts the first, for if there are right and wrong 
instincts, then we must not obey every instinct indiscrim- 
inately, and in each individual case we must consult our rea- 
son as to what we ought to do ; in other words, as to whether 
in this instance the impulse is good or bad. But if, after all, 
reason is to have the last word, it might be thought that the 
whole question of instinct had no practical bearing upon the 
lives of us human beings. This, however, is by no means the 
case. Man's instincts are of even more importance in de- 
termining his conduct than we have been accustomed to think. 
Eeason, it is true, can decide and direct us; it can develop 
one instinct and suppress another : but strength to take action 
proceeds from a whole series of unconscious impulses. And 
even if wje have a thousand times admitted warlike instincts 
to be wrong, we shall never get the better of them unless we 
replace them by other and pacific instincts. 

In Part III of this book I shall show that the instinct of love 
is more powerful than that of hate, but my present purpose 
is to set forth what, after all, an instinct really is, and to 
trace the origin of martial instincts. 

§ 8. — The Value of Instinct 

Liebmann^ once pregnantly observed that the conception 
of instinct is like a railway junction: everything we know 
about psychology runs into it. Without analyzing instincts, 
indeed, it is impossible either to understand the human soul 
or rightly to estimate man 's passion for war. 

The instincts which we first noticed were just the most 
marvelous, the most complex, and consequently the most dif- 
ficult to understand. Hence imperfect knowledge has gradu- 

1 otto Liebmann, German philosopher, born 1840. — Translator. 


ally enveloped instinct with a veil of mystery. The proper 
way to arrive at a right comprehension of instincts, however, 
is to begin with the simplest. And here may I be permitted 
to make a slight digression ? We call an act instinctive which 
an animal performs unconsciously and with mechanical regu- 
larity. Such acts, for instance, are the sucking movements 
of a newborn infant and the closing of the eyelids when the 
eye is threatened with injury. Now, as a matter of fact, in 
the immense majority of instinctive acts there is really an 
astonishing element of expediency far beyond the degree of 
understanding which can possibly be possessed by the animals 
performing them. Hence it might be thought that an in- 
stinct must of necessity serve some useful purpose. Men 
noted how a bird, which had never seen a nest built, yet car- 
ried out this difficult work without any one to teach it, lining 
the nest warmly at the proper season for its nestlings, of 
whose future existence it could nevertheless hardly have any 
foreboding. They noticed how migratory birds unerringly 
wended their way southward at the proper season, and how 
the bee built itself six-cornered cells long before modern 
statics had shown that of all possible constructions these were 
the ones best suited to the bees' purpose. The instinct of 
animals thus surpasses all human intelligence ; it is truer, less 
liable to err, and apparently can see what is to come, for 
which reason Jean Paul called it the ''sense of the future. '* 

This conception, which, as will be shown, is a wrong one, 
gave rise to the opinion, which since Rousseau's time has be- 
come popular, that all that is necessary is to recognize in- 
stincts and follow them; then everything would go right of 
itself. Even instincts, however, can go wrong, as a little re- 
flection will show. Thus, in the lowest animals all acts take 
place absolutely automatically. Just as the light which strikes 
a stone expands it, and does so forcibly and always in the 
same way, similarly when it strikes certain low forms of life 
such as bacteria, it forces them toward the light (positive 
heliotropism, as it is called) or away from the light (negative 


heliotropism). Similarly in such low forms of life all sorts 
of influences produce definite, forcible reactions, which in 
themselves merely obey certain laws, and are neither expedient 
nor inexpedient. If, however, they are injurious to the par- 
ticular animal in question, it becomes extinct. Hence it hap- 
pens quite naturally that the only species of animals which 
have survived were so constructed that they were led to do 
what was good for them and preserved from what was bad 
for them. The complex instincts of the higher animals arose 
in precisely similar fashion, and no one need wonder at their 
expediency. Now, certain of these reactions are obviously of 
such importance for the preservation of life that they must 
occur in all animals without exception. For example, it is 
wholly impossible that any animal whose instinct it was to 
eat poisonous substances could exist ; and it is equally obvious 
that the only protoplasms and, in course of evolution, the 
only animals that have come into existence are those which 
absorb substances in themselves nourishing, and involuntarily 
avoid substances that for them are poisonous. Hence we 
must not be surprised that all animals should know how to 
avoid plants poisonous for them. 

§ 9. — Advantages and Disadvantages of Instincts 

Despite all this, however, if one of these ** animals with 
true instincts'' is transferred from its accustomed surround- 
ings to a region in which plants unfamiliar to it occur, it 
frequently happens that it eats unwholesome plants and con- 
sequently perishes. Thus in a different environment a **true 
instinct" may become false. Such occurrences are far from 
rare in nature. For instance, the instinct of the moth to fly 
into the candle or lamp, or that of the female thrush to feed 
the young cuckoo until it pushes her own nestlings out of the 
nest, are harmful, though they were not always so. The moth 
first began struggling to get to the brightness at a time when 
there were no lamps, and its flight toward the sun and up- 
ward did it no harm, but, on the contrary, good. To feed the 


young is an instinct without which it is inconceivable that 
there could ever have been any birds ; and the fact that from 
time to time the cuckoo lays her eggs in the thrush's nest can- 
not and ought not to alter the latter 's instinct. 

Hence in nature, besides many valuable instincts, there are 
also many harmful ones; and the mere fact that an act was 
performed instinctively is in itself no proof that in the par- 
ticular circumstances it was useful. It may probably be 
safely concluded, however, that at the time when the instinct 
arose it was useful ; and if man has warlike instincts, this is a 
proof that it was necessary to wage war, but no argument 
whatever as to its still being necessary. For, as is proved by 
the case of the moth flying toward the light, instincts are 
uncommonly conservative, and persist long after the condi- 
tions which produced them have ceased to exist; and there 
are countless instances of such * ' rudimentary instincts. ' ' 

Take the case of the dog. He was once an arrant thief, 
though he has ceased to be so more quickly than his master; 
so that it would seem as if the teachings of the whip went 
home more than those of morality. Be that as it may, how- 
ever, it was in the predatory period of his existence that the 
dog acquired the habit of burying his excrements, a habit 
which in the case of wolves is often praised as testifying to 
great intelligence. At a time when the thief on his nocturnal 
rambles desired to make it as difficult as possible to scent him, 
there was a very good reason for this habit. As the dog, how- 
ever, did not then realize that this was so, he has preserved 
this unconscious habit even to this day, despite the fact of 
his present occupation being much more peaceful; and it is 
ridiculous to see our street dogs scratching for a time with 
their hind legs on the asphalt pavement of some modern town 
after relieving nature. Here is an instance of a senseless, 
purposeless instinct. Now, it must not be thought that human 
beings had no rudimentary instincts. When a monkey of old 
set upon his enemy, he did what very many animals do: he 
first showed him his means of defense in order to strike terror 


into him. Raising his upper lip, he exposed to view his pow- 
erful incisors, and clenched his fist threateningly. Similarly, 
whenever we civilized Europeans, who have wholly ceased to 
bite and almost ceased to make any use of our fists, get into 
a passion, we raise the upper lip and clench the fist precisely 
as did our ancestor, the old forest-dwelling monkey. 

Thus, no instinct is useful in itself, its existence being justi- 
fied only so long as the conditions which gave rise to it remain 
unchanged. Just as an animal which in the course of cen- 
turies wanders farther north gradually acquires a thicker coat, 
even so must it adopt other habits and other instincts. 

§ 10. — Man as Master of His Instincts 

What has just been said of animals applies more to us hu- 
man beings, endowed as we are with the power of changing 
our conditions by our own acts to an incomparably greater 
extent than any animal; and for this very reason it is our 
duty as far as possible to suit our habits to these altered con- 
ditions of life. This is no easy matter, for, as I have said, 
instincts are conservative and tenacious. Thus, since the in- 
vention of knives we no longer use our teeth upon our ene- 
mies, though throughout all the centuries we have never ceased 
to show them our teeth. When we realized how much there 
was to be gained from an organization of the world, then was 
the time to have subdued our once useful instinct for war. I do 
not mean this as a reproach to a great many persons, because 
in their case this process is a very slow one ; but human beings 
who still continue enthusiastically to abandon themselves to 
their lust for war always involuntarily make me think I see 
a dog on the asphalt. No one is readier than I am to admit, 
what ought to be admitted, that instincts are important to 
man, more important than many intelligently performed ac- 
tions. After all, everything most essential to life is rightly 
removed from the domain of understanding, which is easily 
deceived. We are, it is true, aware of hunger and thirst, the 
sexual impulse and maternal love, but all are regulated by 


instincts ; and what is still more important, the beating of the 
heart, respiration, and digestion proceed safely and surely 
without our being aware thereof. 

The understanding may err, but never instinct ; at any rate, 
not if its province be restricted to things which, being part 
and parcel of the very physical constitution of man, are vir- 
tually unchangeable. Unjustifiable generalization from this, 
however, has induced many to deny any real progress in the 
world. The bacterium, they argue, always acts rightly, man 
mostly wrongly. Hence what has been the use of the whole 
cycle of evolution from the primitive cell to the human being? 
This point of view, however, is based, I should like to say for- 
tunately, upon imperfect knowledge; for although instinct is 
indeed infallible, which is an advantage, it is also blind and 
incapable of learning, and this is its doom. Whenever an 
animal comes into new surroundings with instincts unsuited 
thereto, it still continues doing what according to its nature 
is right; but in so doing it dies out. Thus one species of 
animal after another has died out because it cannot change. 
And is man also to die out because he vrill not change? 
Man, moreover, can change. He is not like a bacterium, al- 
ways obliged to do what is **in accordance with his nature.'* 
Man is able to act differently, and, being capable of perpetual 
modification, to adapt himself to circumstances. Man alone, 
in short, can achieve the impossible in that he can choose, in 
doing which, of course, he may err. But this curse of liability 
to error is the necessary result of liberty and the direct out- 
come of the blessed capacity for change, in other words, for 

Verily the old Bible is wiser than the panegyrists of instinct 
when it makes man fall at the very outset of creation ; for 
what constitutes a moral human being is precisely his being 
free to ^' sin" or *' to do right." As long as man struggles, so 
long must he err ; or, to put it the other way, were there no 
error, there would be no possibility of struggle. 

For thousands of years past our ideal has been a sober, 


self-controlled human race. Nevertheless, we have still not 
been able to rid ourselves of physical instincts such as raising 
the upper lip, while the more complex mental instincts are 
still more difficult to break with, it being in man 's very nature 
to consider the old as venerable; and this traditional over- 
estimation of everything old can ultimately be traced back to 
hereditary instincts which we have unconsciously come to re- 
vere. Such instincts in themselves have a tendency to per- 
sist, and since we do not clearly realize this, but merely vaguely 
suspect it, we imagine that by religiously adhering to every- 
thing old we are preserving what is of permanent value. 
This imperfect knowledge explains why we think it nobler 
and more honorable to be out of date, and consequently war- 
like, than up to date and peaceful. 

Enough has now been said, I think, to show that the com- 
parative value of warlike instincts can be correctly estimated 
only if it be known what conditions originally gave rise to 
bellicosity. Otherwise it is not possible for any one to decide 
whether these conditions still persist; that is to say, whether 
the war instinct still serves any purpose, or whether, like our 
rudimentary appendix, once also very important, it is now 
merely a cause of disease. 


§ 11. — Man's Original Tendency to Live in Hordes 

We may begin by observing that warlike instincts are not 
necessary or even characteristic attributes of the human race. 
On the contrary, they rather tend to prove that the conception 
of humanity has become debased, inasmuch as man, according 
to his true nature, must necessarily have been a peaceful and 
social animal. This, indeed, may be inferred from the very 
anatomy of man, who, as every one is aware, is one of the 
most defenseless creatures ever known to science, possessing 
neither horns nor fangs, claws nor hoofs, hard outer shell nor 
poison glands; so that his equally defenseless ancestors, 


monkeys, could survive only owing to their being, at any 
rate, somewhat protected by dwelling in the swaying branches 
of trees. A climbing animal, however, could not develop into 
a human being, walking upright, except by coming down 
from the trees and walking about the ground until it acquired 
a foot. 

Now, the foot being henceforth used for purposes of loco- 
motion, the hand was free. The earliest vertebrate animals — 
for instance, the frog — already possessed this primitive five- 
jfingered hand, which, however, in the case of all animals 
became converted — or, if the word be preferred, perfected — 
into a special organ, usually either a claw or a hoof for de- 
fensive purposes. Only in the case of the defenseless monkeys 
did it remain a hand and acquire skill in tree-climbing. The 
hand, in its origin peaceful, since it could neither strike nor 
scratch, but merely grasp and seize,^ was superfluous as an 
aid to locomotion on the ground, and thus became free and 
able to lay hold of something besides trees. Consequently it 
clenched and laid hold of tools, thus becoming the means and 
symbol of all man^s future greatness. 

What is even more important, however, is that had man 
been a solitary animal when he first attempted to quit the pro- 
tecting branches of the tree-tops, he would never have been 
able to do anything of the kind, as he would infallibly have 
been exterminated by his very much stronger-armed enemies. 
The fact that he nevertheless did take this decisive step, as a 
result of which he conquered the world, proves that even then 
he must have possessed some means of defense ; and as he did 
not find the stone which he used as an ax until he descended 
to earth, his only ''powerful means of defense" must have 
been the fact that weak persons become strong by uniting to 
help one another. Man, in short, could conquer only because 
he was a social being. 

Not a single serious argument can be urged against the 

1 Deep significance, into which it is impossible to enter in detail here, 
is contained in the fact that the expression "grasp" in the sense of 


social origin of the human race. The sole objection of which 
I know is ''that it is just the anthropoids (the so-called human 
monkeys, the ourang-outangs, chimpanzees, and gorillas) 
which live only in family and not in social communities. ' ' But 
this is based on the long-disproved theory, wrongly ascribed to 
Darwin, that man is descended from these monkeys. We 
know that the anthropoids are only our cousins, and that we 
must seek our direct ancestors in very much lower monkeys. 
Now, all these lower monkeys live in hordes; and how they 
club together to rob plantations, at the same time setting some 
of their number on watch, and how they perform other tasks 
such as removing heavy stones, in order to get at the worms 
beneath, are matters of common knowledge. Our ancestors, 
therefore, were social animals living in hordes or nomadic 
tribes, and we were social beings long before that family life 
began, to which persons blinded by the traditional sacredness 
of the family formerly endeavored to trace back our social 
and government communities. Were this the case, then man 's, 
deep-seated social aspirations would indeed be of secondary 
importance. It is not so, however, for man did not voluntarily 
unite to form any community (the family first, for instance, 
then the tribe, then a class, then a community, and so on) ; 
but it was the primeval community which made the evolution 
of man possible. 

In reality, the lowest peoples, such as Bushmen, Tierra del 
Fuegans, Eskimos, Andaman Islanders, and whatever their 
names may be, always live in nomadic tribes or hordes even 
when they have still no tendency to form families. Similarly 
all their habits are directly traceable to tribal instincts. For 
instance, the chattering and grimacing of savages, repeatedly 
described by travelers, are the most vivid reminder of the 
behavior of animals that live in hordes, such as monkeys, 
and of certain birds that go in flocks, such as parrots. Nat- 
urally, nothing of the sort is ever observable in the case of 

thoroughly understand comes from the use of the hand, just as does the 
word apprendere (learn) of the Romance languages. 


races originally living solitary lives. Savages in general are 
extraordinarily gregarious, and for them solitude almost 
always portends mental and physical ruin, just as solitary 
confinement is still one of the severest punishments for the 
European, no matter how fertile may be his mind.^ The 
vanity of savages and their capacity for imitation also clearly 
and certainly are due to their having originally lived together 
in communities; for to whom is the solitary person to 
*^show oif,^' whom is he to imitate, and with whom is he to 
chatter ? 

How far, moreover, it is possible to trace back this tribal 
nature and the habits arising therefrom in the gradations of 
the human race is shown, for example, by Le Moustier 's skele- 
ton of primeval man — a skeleton which, according to Klaatsch, 
exhibits signs of having received most careful burial. Now, 
as might be expected, we find all these primitive characteristics 
in children, for, after all, we know that every person must 
pass through the various stages of development that his fore- 
fathers underwent. The first impulses of a child's mind, in 
fact, find expression in vanity, desire to imitate, and chatter- 
ing or babbling. 

Perhaps the most decisive proof of man's originally tribal 
nature, however, is speech. No one doubts or can doubt that 
a human being without speech is no human being, and hence 
that the capacity for speech, at any rate, was acquired not 
later than the period when man became man, and probably 
earlier. Now, there is absolutely no need to insist on the 
self-evident fact that speech could never arise in the case of 
beings living alone, but only from life in common; and it is 
only in the case of social creatures, such as parrots, frogs, 
ducks, hens, dogs, horses, seals, and cows, that we find speech 
or capacity for modulating the sounds uttered. On the other 
hand, all creatures of solitary habits, even when, like birds 
of prey, cats, and whales, they have comparatively highly de- 

1 These words were, I think, written while the author was in solitary 
confinement. — ^Translator. 


veloped brains, are mute and speechless, or at most can utter 
only love sounds, such as the mewing of a cat, or sounds to 
alarm their enemies, such as the lion's roar. In other words, 
they never utter sounds save when they enter into some sort of 
relations with creatures of their own kind, which they do 
when in love or at war with them. Speech presupposes re- 
lations of some kind, and the fact that man speaks proves that 
these relations have existed from all time. 

Man, as even Aristotle knew, is from his very nature a social 
animal. Universal brotherhood among men is older and more 
primitive than all combat, which was not introduced among 
men until later. 


§ 12. — The Peaceahleness of Animals 

When a wolf attacks a sheep, or a lion a gazelle, neither wolf 
nor lion is exposed to any danger. Similarly beasts of prey 
in general do not become dangerous to their pursuers save in 
exceptional cases. If, however, an animal attacks one of its 
own kind, there is always a possibility that the aggressor may 
be overcome by the almost equally powerful opponent. For a 
creature to begin to tackle one of its own kind is thus no 
light task; and as every animal instinctively avoids pain, it 
is not surprising that wars or combats between animals of 
the same kind should be of such extreme rarity that it may 
almost be said that war, like so much else, is a human invention. 
The argument in favor of this is the hypothesis, first sub- 
mitted by the Englishman Pye-Smith,^ that right-handedness, 
which occurs only in human beings, is due to warlike habits. 
It is the right arm which is used to fight with, in order that 
the left arm "may be used to protect the left side, in which 
the quickened heartbeats were visible." 

1 "On Lefthandedness," by Dr. Philip Henry Pye-Smith. Guy*s Hos- 
pital Reports, III Series, Vol. XVI, p. 141. Cf. also Gaupp, "On 
Kighthandedness'' : Jena, 1904. 


Even the ancients noticed the remarkably peaceable char- 
acter of beasts of prey. Lucretius, for example, says: 

Quando leoni 
Fortior eripuit vitam leo? Quo nemore unquam 
Expiravit aper majoris dentibus apri? 

(When did a stronger lion ever take the life of another lion? In 
what wood did ever a swine end its life through the tusk of a 
bigger swine? ^) 

This is also the opinion of Montaigne,^ who says in his 
**Apologie of Raymond Sebond,'^ comparing the intellectual 
attributes of beasts with those of man : 

As for warre, which is the greatest and most glorious of all 
humane actions, I would faine know if we will use it for an argu- 
ment of some prerogative, or otherwise for a testimonie of our 
imbecilitie and imperfection, as in truth the science we use to defeat 
and kill one another, to spoile and utterly to overthrow our owne 
kind, it seemeth it hath not much to make itselfe to be wished for in 
beasts, that have it not. 

Similarly Shaftesbury^ points out that the phrase '^homo 
homini lupus*' (''Man is a wolf to his fellow-man '') is alto- 
gether absurd when we reflect that wolves are very gentle and 
loveable creatures to other wolves. 

It is, indeed, worthy of note that only a very few animals 
wage genuine wars. In the case of most animals, for instance 
young dogs and cats, the so-called fights of which they are 
fond are merely sham fights, nowise intended to injure any 
one else taking part, but only as training for future fights with 

1 Lucretius. "De rerum Naturft," Book II, 1, 323. 

2 Essays, fifth edition, 1588. Book 2, Chapter XII, Florio's transla- 
tion. Nicolai, doubtless having no reference library at his disposal, 
quotes from memory only. I have quoted the original passage. — Trans- 

3 "Moralists: a Philosophical Rhapsody," by Antony Ashley Cooper, 
third Earl of Shaftesbury, 1671-1713. II, 5, German translation by 
Karl WolflF: Jena, 1910, p. 86. 


other kinds of animals. If, therefore, they could be com- 
pared with any other human institution, it would be only 
with sport, which is man 's way of playing.^ 

§ 13. — The Impossibility of War without Property 

Except man, the only creatures that wage war properly so- 
called among themselves (Homer's Polemon epidemio7i), are 
stags, ants, bees, and a few birds. All these creatures live 
social lives, and how they came to fight one another, which, 
as we shall see in Chapter II, is contrary to the universal laws 
of life, is what needs to be explained. One thing is clear 
from the first, that to fight one's own kind is fraught with 
danger ; and as an animal risks its life in so doing, the possible 
reward in the event of victory must be sufficient to com- 
pensate for such high stakes. At any rate, even allowing for 
an animal being unable to estimate so exactly what is and what 
is not worth while, there must be some possible reward in view 
which induces it to fight. But what can induce a tiger to 
fight another tiger ? Tigers never eat other tigers, and in any 
case scarcely any animals ever eat their own kind, cannibalism, 
like war, being one of the blessings conferred by civilization 
and peculiar to man. The poor tiger has really nothing but 
his body which could tempt another tiger. The grounds over 
which he hunts do not belong to him; and if another tiger 
happens to covet them, he will go and hunt there, too. Then, 
if he is swifter, and consequently catches all the prey, so 
that the other tiger gets nothing, the latter, if he does not 
want to starve, must go elsewhere; but if the old tiger is 
the swifter, then the new-comer will be forced to depart. Thus 
the struggle goes on between the two without either needing 
to kill the other and without the loss of any tiger flesh. 

No conqueror, however, can rob the tiger of what really 
belongs to him, — his strength, his swiftness, and his other 

1 Cf. Gross, "Die Spiele der Tiere" ("Animals' Games"). G. Fischer: 
Jena, 1907. 


physical endowments, — for they all die with him.^ War be- 
tween creatures of the same kind is wholly unthinkable unless 
they are either cannibals or possessed of something of which 
it is worth while robbing them. This latter hypothesis is by 
far the more important of the two. 

War, therefore, cannot occur until a certain level of civiliza- 
tion has been attained ; - for man or beast, as the case may be, 
must have, at any rate, reached the stage of feeling that he 
or it has a right to possess some thing or other, whether it be 
merely an old bone which a dog has buried and which he often 
defends as vigorously as a human being his money-chest, or 
whether it be a female for the possession of which stags 
and cocks fight in truly human fashion. Genuine wars, how- 
ever, did not begin except where actual property was accumu- 
lated ; and as property is in a certain sense a sign of civiliza- 
tion, war might likewise appear to be so. Accordingly, we find 
that wars proper do not occur among animals except in the 
case of ants and bees, and that they are waged for the sake 
of honey, a habitation, and supplies. For such things man 
fights also. The property may consist in fields laid out in all 
manner of different ways, in weapons, tools, accumulated stores 
of gold, or in anything whatsoever; or it may be flocks and 
herds that are involved, or women, either as beasts of burden 
or as sexual property; or even man himself, who is handed 
over to the victor as a slave. Whenever there is nothing to 
be had, however, no fighting takes place, and Hume ^ is quite 
right in saying that a savage is but little tempted to turn 
another savage out of his hut or rob him of his bow, being 
.himself already provided with these things. Propertyless 

iThe fact that man, having become superstitious, hoped to acquire 
the physical characteristics of his fellow-men by eating them has al- 
ways been cited by students of the lower races as one of the reasons 
which led to cannibalism. Just as superstition is a human character- 
istic, so also is the cannibalism resulting from it. 

2 Even cannibalism, as modern ethnologists all agree, presupposes a 
certain level of civilization. (Cf. infra.) 

8 "Treatise on Human Nature." Vol III, pp. 2, 8. 


animals consequently live in peace one with another. In 
other words, even the fiercest beasts of prey do not fight 
among themselves save for quite exceptional causes, which 
very seldom occur, and which are rightly considered as usually 
betokening degeneration. 

Would man but realize that there is nothing natural, noth- 
ing great, and nothing noble about war, but that it is merely 
one of the numberless consequences of the introduction of 
property! In short, war in its essence is a business, like 
thousands of others, except that it is unnatural and assumes 
certain violent forms. This, however, does not alter the fact 
that it is essentially the same thing. 

It is not so very long since that the head of a business 
house as well as the leader of a troop of soldiers was called 
captain'^ {capiiano), so that the lieutenant of to-day need 
not look down so proudly on a mere clerk.^ They are both 


§ 14. — War and Slavery 

For whatever purpose a war may be fought, however great 
the spoils of the victor, mankind must always be exploited, 
either because the accumulated results of his labor are forcibly 
appropriated or because others are trying to use the results of 
his future labor for themselves. Thus every war which has 
any practical result, and is not wholly superfluous, must neces- 
sarily result in the enslavement of a portion of mankind. 
One consequence of this, however, is that war was justified 
only so long as it was considered justifiable to impose some 

1 Tliis word is in English in the original. — ^Translator. 

2 Even the French word commis (clerk) (German, Kommis) is de- 
rived from the Latin committere (fight), although this word can never 
be proved to have had two meanings. Compare, however, the two 
meanings of compagnie, campagne, the same root as in Commerzienrat 
[councilor of commerce, a German title conferred upon distinguished 
limmoiers and business men — ^Translator] and mercenaHua. Both de- 
rive their name from the same root, caper e (take) . 


form or other of slavery upon the vanquished; while another 
consequence is that there can he only any object in war so 
long as it is possible to impose this slavery. 

Even on superficial reflection it is obvious that the terms 
of modern peace treaties likewise attempt to impose some 
form of slavery. What is a war indemnity if not part of the 
labor of a vanquished foe, of which we as "exploiters" are 
depriving him ? It is the same thing under a finer name, and 
Goethe^ is not so very far wrong in thinking that there is 
not much to choose between honest soldiers imposing a war 
tax and a gang of thieves. 

Private property to-day is supposed to be protected; but 
even if this is so, it is only to the extent of taking nothing 
from the person directly, but merely indirectly by imposing a 
burden on the entire conquered people, which, after all, 
amounts to very much the same thing. 

Moreover, what can the conquest of a province mean except 
that we partly appropriate to ourselves what the enemy has 
done there, and thus are again guilty of exploitation? This 
is of course also the case if the conquered province is consid- 
ered only as a colony to serve the purpose of national expan- 
sion, save that in this case it is not the individual citizen who 
is concerned, but the community as a whole, and that it is not 
merely material property which is involved, but also to some 
extent civilization and ideals. In principle, however, it is 
the same thing. 

Whether war really does make such exploitation possible is 
another question.^ At any rate, this is the object of war, 
and therefore, if slavery were really abolished, there would 

1 Goethe, who makes Hahehald, in "Faust," II, 4, say to the Kaiaer'a 
myrmidons, who call him a low thief: 

Die Redliehkeit, die kennt man schon, 

Sie heisst: Kontribution, 

Ihr alle seid auf gleichem Fuss: 

Gib her! Das ist dor Handwerksgruss. 

2 Cf. § 52-54, about the advantages derived from war. 


be no longer any object in war ; and as a matter of fact, there 
is no object in it in so far as slavery has been abolished. 

Now, slavery being forbidden by our present laws, and 
being also to a certain extent rendered impossible by present 
conditions, war has in a twofold sense lost all justification for 
its existence. In law it is no less contrary to morality than 
slavery, and there can be no greater advantages connected 
with it than with slavery. True, numerous relics of slavery, 
such as exploitation, still persist, and just so far as these 
relics extend can there now be said to be any object in 
war. Every one, however, who defends war under any con- 
ditions whatever ought to know that in so doing he is advo- 
cating slavery. 

§ 15. — The Uses of Enslavement, 

This inevitable connection between war and slavery points 
to the fact, however, that war, like slavery, had once some 
use; for there can be no possible doubt that at a certain 
phase of civilization it was not only a benefit, but probably also 
a dire necessity, for the majority of mankind to be forced to 
work for others. An animal's life is almost wholly taken up 
by the business of feeding. Vegetable feeders are, after all, 
obliged to swallow huge quantities of food, and when not eat- 
ing, these are engaged in digesting the food or in chewing 
the cud ; and even beasts of prey spend their days in hunting, 
eating, and sleeping, which merely means that they are rest- 
ing so as to be ready for more predatory excursions. If to 
this is added the time which animals require for the business 
of love-making and for a certain amount of attention to physi- 
cal cleanliness, there is hardly any spare time left. 

Now, the life of primitive man can scarcely have differed 
from that of animals, for he, too, spent the whole day in the 
satisfaction of his physical needs. Man, however, in contra- 
distinction to animals, has needs of a higher kind. When these 
needs began to assert themselves, while mankind was still 


obliged to work virtually all day long in order to keep alive, 
it was right and necessary that the great mass of men should 
work rather more than was absolutely needful for themselves 
in order that a select few, without themselves working, might 
be enabled to live at leisure on the superfluity acquired by the 
labor of others, and devote themselves to the promotion of 
civilization. Similarly, it was equally necessary and desir- 
able that a few people should be able to live on the product of 
the labor of other peoples in order likewise to have leisure to 
promote civilization. It is absolutely impossible that the mar- 
velous civilization of the ancients could have existed without 
there having been slaves. 

The time came, however, when another kind of organization 
rendered slavery superfluous. The community as a whole 
voluntarily gave up part of its earnings to be devoted to 
purposes of civilization ; for when the state hands over to the 
ministry of public worship and education a portion of the 
funds it raises by taxation, it is putting something in the 
place of slavery. Again, a select few are enabled, as formerly 
by slavery, to live at the expense of the generality.^ 

Moreover, there is the fact that — at any rate, in principle — 
a great deal of work once done by slaves can now be per- 
formed by machinery; and if, as is unfortunately the case, 
our requirements had not been increased so greatly by the in- 
troduction of new technical expedients as always to be in ad- 
vance of what can be achieved by machinery, — if, for in- 
stance, we could still content ourselves, which would not be at 
all a bad thing, with about thrice the output of labor of the 
Greco-Roman period, — then workers would need to work only 
a few hours daily. As I purpose to show, our machines, in 
the hours worked at present, get through about ten times as 

1 The sums thus expended are, taken altogether, inconsiderable, al- 
though the amount necessary for an individual contributor to the sum 
of the world's knowledge works out fairly high. For example, in order 
that one Sanscrit student may have the requisite leisure to pursue his 
researches, from about 150 to 200 working-class families must indi- 
rectly hand over to him their surplus labor. 


much as human hands ; and therefore, in order to get through 
thrice as much, they would need to work only one third as 
long as is now the case. Consequently the workmen would 
require to work only one third as long as is at present cus- 

The world, however, will have none of such moderation, 
and political economists, to suit many greedy people, in- 
vented the phrase about national well-being increasing with 
increased power of consumption. Possibly w^hat is defined 
as national well-being may be thus increased, which, however, 
would only go to prove that the definition is meaningless; for 
in reality national well-being does not become greater because 
all manner of superfluous trash, such as oleographs and shell- 
covered boxes, is palmed ofif upon the working-classes to- 
day. But it is this artificially excited greed which in the end 
still continues to bolster up slavery in the shape of exploita- 
tion and war. 

As property engendered theft, even so it has engendered 
war and, in its train, all crimes, although here and there it 
was an incentive to virtue. Thus, for feeble souls who will not 
exert themselves save in the hope of becoming possessed of 
some tangible object it is well that there should be something 
in the nature of a stimulus. So matters remained, and, as 
Greek and Roman heroic poets recognized, with true percep- 
tion of the facts of life, the struggle went on for thousands 
upon thousands of years for the sake of the world's precious 
goods, for love, and for gold. Covetousness began with rob- 
bery, which in turn aroused in its victim anger and vengeance. 
The Iliad is the song of songs not only of a fight for a woman 
(Paridis propter amorem), bringing death and ruin in its 
wake, but likewise of the wrath of Achilles; while the burden 
of the Nibelungen myth is the fight for the sparkling golden 
treasure and the vengeance of Krimhild.^ 

1 These poems have greater unity than seems to be the ease at first 
sight, for the wrath of Achilles was excited in the fight for the woman 
(Briseia), and the vengeance of Krimhild also in its essence has to do 


True, for the time being, Venus had ceased to spur the 
Crusaders on to fight, her place being taken by the divine 
Virgin, and that red gold which once, seemed the sole posses- 
sion worth striving for is now merely the symbol of power 
and, above all, of possession; but the principle remains un- 
changed. Only very rarely does it seem as if a multitude of 
people — for instance, the Albigenses — make an effort to fight 
for a new idea. Even then I believe that they only seem to 
do so, and that closer inspection would reveal other motives. 
I cannot, indeed, conceive of men drawing the sword for an 
idea pure and simple, an idea wholly unconnected with any 
conception of power. For the conception of country and 
nothing else it is probably possible to fight, by endeavoring to 
express to the full in oneself, and therefore for others, the 
genius of one's own people; but it will scarcely promote any 
purely patriotic conception to begin shooting for it with 
cannon. The value of such material arguments cannot become 
clearly manifest until purely patriotic ideas have become 
closely intermingled with impure and covetous conceptions 
of power and property. 

Fighting, in short, is intimately bound up with property 
and slavery,^ and Goethe ^ knew what he was writing about 
when he said: 

"Krieg, Handel und Piraterie 
Dreieinig sind sie, nicht zu tremien." 

with the possession of treasure. In the medieval Nibelungenlied, which 
has been recast in a Christian sense, this appears less clearly. Wagner 
brings it out more strongly. 

1 "Faust," Part II, 5. Mephistopheles's words when he hands over to 
Faust the proceeds of a voyage. ("WaF> trade, and piracy are trinity 
in unity, inseparable.") 

War and the Struggle for Life 

1. — the bases of war 

§ 16. — Darwinism 

Eagerness to acquire property was originally the cause and 
object of war. In the course of evolution, however, the 
signification of any particular occurrence may change, which 
is what is known as a change of function. When our ances- 
tors, for instance, were still swimming about in ponds, our 
lungs, which we now use for breathing, were a floating blad- 
der; and later on, when they were already living in trees, 
our hands, with which now we grasp hammers, slate-pencils, 
axes, and swords, were meant for climbing. Thus the function 
of these organs of ours altered, and similarly the meaning of 
our institutions altered. 

To-day marriage and the stage are moral institutions, but 
they arose, in the case of the former, from desire for posses- 
sion, and in the case of the latter from pleasure in motion, 
as witness dancing, music, and tragedy. The like is true 
with regard to war. It arose as a means of robbery, but be- 
ing virtually useless in this capacity at present, new func- 
tions were discovered for it, and now it is stated to tend to 
counteract materialism, degenerative tendencies, and so forth. 

Love of possession, which was first aroused in man, merely 
explains how man, forsaking the habits of his peaceful pro- 
genitors, first came to wage war. Once this was done, how- 
ever, war ceased to be a mere "action," and even became 
**a factor in education." 

Now, we first perform our actions and then cannot shake 



off the effects of them. Cain, who slew his brother Abel, 
was never the same again, and to this day mankind still bears 
the brand of Cain. In this respect war is nowise different 
from any other human action. We have created speech, 
agriculture, technical science, and much else besides, and 
they are now educating us. A great many human institutions, 
such as cannibalism, slavery, and idolatry, moreover, have 
been only temporary; but they, too, have left indelible traces 
on the human soul. Similarly, the fact that our ancestors 
waged war continuously for more than ten thousand years 
cannot be obliterated and leave no trace. It would be enough 
to give the most pacifically inclined human being a warlike 

The belief gained ground, however, that still greater in- 
fluence might be ascribed to war, particularly an influence 
upon human evolution. War, in short, as one form of the 
struggle for life, was said to cause selection. Most of the 
theoretical defenders of war to-day are wholly ignorant of nat- 
ural science. They have nevertheless heard enough of Darwin- 
ism to know that Darwin was said to have stated that all living 
creatures achieve victory by means of struggle, and that 
everywhere the unfit are exterminated and the fit survive, and 
thus the race is perfected. What could be more obvious than 
to apply this theory to war? The fit nations conquer, the 
unfit perish. This may be terrible, and a constant hindrance 
to progress in the case of individual nations, which is cer- 
tainly regrettable, but it is the only way to sift the wheat from 
the chaff. Moreover, by this method perfection is eventually 
attained, even if the way thereto is long and leads over moun- 
tains of corpses. In short, it was believed that the right to 
make war was one of the so-called natural rights that are 
part of our birthright, and that war, like the struggle for ex- 
istence, is profitable to mankind. 

Now, apart from the fact that the expression *' innate nat- 
ural right" means nothing, and that the struggle for exist- 
ence need by no means always be profitable, war does not at 


all come within the conception of ** struggle for existence'' in 
the true sense of this phrase. This claim in behalf of war 
is therefore reduced to virtually nothing. We must not be 
surprised, however, at its having been advanced, for our gen- 
eration can scarcely realize the feeling of enfranchisement 
caused throughout Europe by the publication, on November 
26, 1854, of ''The Origin of Species." All branches of sci- 
ence were immediately hypnotized by enthusiasm for the idea 
of struggle, and efforts were made to apply it to chemistry, 
astronomy, cosmology, and sociology. It is only with its ap- 
plication to sociology that we are concerned, and this was 
the most risky. Struggle, indeed, which is met with through- 
out nature, does not cease just at the time when man comes 
upon the scene, for he, too, is wholly subject to the law of 
struggle, and no one has ever doubted this. 

The saying that life is a struggle is found in the writ- 
ings of all the three nations to whom we owe our civilization, 
the Jews, the Greeks, and the Romans, and we moderns have 
all realized this. A Frenchman, Beaumarchais, chose as his 
motto, ' ' My life is a fight " ; ^ an Englishman, Darwin, was 
the author of the phrase ' * struggle for life " ; ^ but for us it is 
a German, Goethe, who expressed it most finely, when he 

Denn ich bin ein Mensch gewesen, 
Und das heisst ein Kampfer sein.^ 

From Job's time to Goethe's, however, it probably never 
entered into the mind of man that any one could conceive 
of its being possible to fight out with muskets or cannon 
the struggle which is supposed to fill man's life. 

Struggle is everywhere : it is only the methods of carrying 
it on which vary. The fox's way of struggling with the hare 

1 Tn this form the phrase is due to Voltaire's "Mahomet," II, 4. 

2 English in the original. Darwin generally says "struggle for exist- 
ence." — Translator. 

sin his "Westostlieher Divan," 1819. (For I have been a man, in 
other words a fighter. — ^Translator.) 


is to eat up her food ; two species of mice straggle one against 
the other by one of them being, for instance, more capable 
of resisting cold than the other. Thus the diverse kinds 
of struggle in nature can by no means be compared out- 
right; for every species of living creature struggles for its 
existence in whatever w^ay is best adapted to it. Similarly 
it is a mistake to insist that struggle for existence must neces- 
sarily be horrible or even brutal. Such terms are meaning- 
less, and old Busch showed that he had more understanding 
of nature than all the so-called Darwinian philosophers, whom 
he put to shame by his lines : 

Mensch mit traurigem Gesichte, 

Sprich nicht nur von Leid und Streit. — 

Selbst in Brehms Nat urgeschi elite 
Findet sich Barmherzigkeit ! ^ 

Darwin himself, in Chapter V of his "Descent of Man,'* ex- 
plained that social instincts are present even in the lower 
animals, thus admitting their importance. His successors, 
however, neglected this aspect of his teachings, and above all 
failed to realize that, if these social instincts are traced back, 
a principle is arrived at which has been developed in and 
owing to struggle, but cannot have orginated in it. 

It is not chance that it should have been almost exclu- 
sively Russians, the offspring of a race and inhabitants of a 
country in which the social system of the mir (village com- 
munity) still prevailed who insisted upon this aspect of Dar 
winian Darwinism, thereby opposing the excrescences of mod- 
ern Darwinism. 

Indications of a belief in the existence of social instincts 
in the lower animals may even be found in Goethe - and in 

1 These lines, unless I am mistaken, are not by Busch, but by Bier- 
baum or Hartleben. — Translator. 

2 Goethe, writing to Eekermann on October 8, 1827, mentions that the 
fact that a mother bird feeds interlopers [young cuckoos, for example] 
is an indication of there being something "divine" underlying it. "If 


the German philosopher Karl Christian Friedrich Krause,^ 
while Espinas ^ cites a great number of facts bearing on the 
subject. Lanessan ^ also described the chief aspects of the 
social impulse in animals; but the first person to recognize its 
importance as a corrective of so-called Darwinism was the 
Russian zoologist Kessler,* who unfortunately died the follow- 
ing year. His work, however, inspired the great Krapotkin,^ 
to write in "The Nineteenth Century" a series of articles 
extending over seven years. 

Finally, Novikow,® in many of his writings has dealt with 
the same subject; but how slight has been the effect of all 
their writings on orthodox science may be gaged from the 
fact that such widely known names as those of Espinas and 
Novikow are not to be found in the latest edition of Meyer's 
* ' Konversationslexikon. ' * I cannot, however, here do more 
than refer generally to these writings ; but I would like espe- 
cially to recommend every one interested in sociology in the 
true Darwinian sense of the term the works of Peter Krapotkin 
and Novikow. 

Like every other species of living creature, man also carries 
on his struggle for existence, in which there is neither cruelty 
nor benevolence, neither of which, for that matter, occurs 
in insensible nature; and he carries it on in accordance with 

this were a universal rule prevailing throughout nature, then it would 
explain much that is inexplicable." 

iKrause's "Urbild der Menschheit" ("The GECuman Prototype"): 
Dresden, 1811. Cf. also a number of his other works. 

2 "Les Societes animfiles" by A. Espinas : Paris, 1877. 

3 Lanessan's "La lutte pour I'existenee et I'association pour la 
lutte," 1882. 

* Kessler's "Comptes rendus der naturwissenschaf tlichen Gesellachaft" : 
St. Petersburg. Vol. XI, 1880. 

s 1890-96. This series of articles was afterward published in book 
form, and translated into German by Gustav Landauer. A popular edi- 
tion was published by Thomas : Leipsic, 1908. 

sNovikow's works, in particular, in "Les luttes entre soci^t^s hu- 
maines" 3rd ed.: Paris, F. Alcan, 1904, and "Die Gerechtigkeit und 
die Entfaltung des Lebens" ("Justice and the Development of Life"): 
Berlin, 1907. 


iron laws, rigid and eternal. But — and this is the main point 
— it must be a struggle for existence, and not a struggle against 
existence, which war is. Now, to make this distinction clearer, 
it is necessary to expound the universal principle of struggle in 
nature (See §§ 19-21), and then, to consider the special con- 
ditions under which man has to struggle, (§§ 22-28). This 
will show that the struggle for existence is concentrated upon 
procuring free outlet for man s mental capacities, and thus 
rendering the maximum amount of energy available for man- 
kind. Every struggle which helps to do this is justifiable ; that 
is to say, it falls into line with human progress, and every 
struggle which does not so help or which hinders is un- 
justifiable; that is to say, it diverts man from the upward 
path of progress. Such justifiable struggles, alike productive 
and prodigal of life, are those to which Laotse refers as be- 
ing ' ' waged with living weapons. ' ' Every other struggle, on 
the contrary, is fought out with **hard, cut-and-dried weap- 
ons," and with these no victory can be won. To which cate- 
gory of struggle war belongs will presently appear. 

§ 17. — The Fundamental Law of Growth and the Limits of 

The meaning of this universal principle of struggle in na- 
ture cannot be understood without some knowledge of the 
most primordial biological law; namely, the law that every- 
thing which exists, above all everything which lives, tends 
to increase beyond all bounds. Struggle, indeed, can be ex- 
plained only by the law of growth, for in itself the earth would 
have room for a great many things at once^ hut as each thing 
tends to increase to an unlimited extent , they necessarily come 
into collision. 

We often meet with this law in the inorganic world. Owing 
to the effect of gravitation, the heavenly bodies, once they have 
taken shape, "grow" by attracting to themselves everything 
coming within their sphere; and even a crystal ''grows" so 
long as sufficient mother-lye is present. In short, wherever 


the phenomena of motion takes place there is an unmistakable 
tendency to ' ' accumulate like substances, ' ' ^ which is the 
same thing as growth. Even now, at any rate, in the domain 
of physics this can be accounted for theoretically, or at least 
it may be made to appear plausible, Zehnder ^ in particular 
having argued much on these lines. Whatever we may think 
of his and similar arguments, it is nevertheless a fact that 
everything, and above all every living substance, grows. 

True, there are limits to this growth, three in number. A 
single cell, the most primitive structure, can scarcely grow 
beyond the size of a pin's head, because the interior of the 
molecule no longer receives sufficient nourishment from 
osmosis,^ and a limit is thus set to the single-cell form of life. 
The tendency to grow still persists, however, despite the fact 
that the individual cell cannot increase in size. Hence further 
growth is impossible unless the isolated cells join together to 
form communities of cells. Thus it is that individual beings 
or polycellular organisms come into existence. These, too, 
have an inherent tendency to become larger and larger, as we 
can see in tracing the development of animals. For instance, 
the oldest horse with which paleontology has acquainted us 
was about as large as a fox. Gradually, however, it grew, 
and is probably still continuing to grow ; and so it is with all 
animals and likewise with us human beings. 

But at length a limit is reached which even the individual 
polycellular creature cannot overstep. For mechanical rea- 
sons aquatic and swamp-dwelling animals very much larger 

1 Empedocles already had an inkling of this primeval law of growth, 
for he says (see Diel's ""Fragments of the Pre-Soeraties," Ist ed., Em- 
pedocles, p. 90) : "Thus did sweet seek after sweet, bitter make a rush 
for bitter, sour after sour, etc." 

2Zehnder'8 "The Origin of Life" ("Entstehung des Lebens"), 1910. 
Published by H. Laupp, Tiibingen. 

3 All that is necessary is, of course, that one dimension should not be 
exceeded. Cells can often expand to a comparatively large size in a 
flat shape. Compare, for instance, Caulerpa, which attains a super- 
ficies of several square centimeters. (Sap probably rises in plants and 
glands from their secretions through osmosis.) 


than a whale, land animals ver}^ much larger than elephants, or 
aerial creatures very much larger than a swan cannot exist, 
for they could no longer have sufficient strength and stability ; 
and paleontology teaches us that this limit, which Helmholtz 
among others calculated in theory for birds, and which could 
be equally well deduced for other creatures, is in practice not 
overstepped. In the course of thousands of years all species 
of living creatures gradually become larger,^ and when they 
have attained the limits of what is possible, they have become 
extinct, as was the case with the mastodon of the Chalk Age. 

Such creatures as the mastodon, however, enormous as they 
seem to us, are yet small in comparison with the size to which 
organic substance might grow and to which it tends to grow. 
But as mechanical limits are fixed by mechanical laws, and 
therefore cannot be overcome, individual creatures must do 
exactly as cells do in a lower stage of development; and, in 
obedience to the tendency to grow inherent in each of them, 
they must join together to form larger structures. 

In a certain sense any number of creatures of the same 
kind — for instance, all the mice in the world, all rodents, all 
mammals, all animals, in short — ^may be considered as some 
such larger structure, in other words, as an organism. The 
fact, already mentioned that animals usually do not eat or even 
attack their own kind may be instanced as indicating that 
from the point of view of the struggle for existence an entire 
animal species is a single organism. 

Anything so loosely welded together, however, cannot prop- 
erly claim to be an organism, but may be compared to some 
extent with loose heaps of cells as they occur in Volvox gloha- 
tor. Unicellular forms of life, however, have developed into 
organisms properly so called. Similarly there gradually arose 

1 This applies primarily to mammals, but even here there are notable 
exceptions, although they can usually be explained by certain special 
circumstances, as is the case with the diminution in size of unicellular 
fauna. An exception to the principle are insects, as I believe the still 
living German zoologist Otto zur Strassen was the first to point out; 
and they, with the brachiopodes, are the longest-lived breed on earth. 


out of and together with these loose conglomerations higher- 
grade organisms represented by social communities.^ Now, 
an organism is superior to a mass of cells ; and likewise social 
communities, more especially from the point of view of the 
struggle for existence, present obvious advantages, the con- 
sequences of which is that animals living a social life of some 
sort certainly amount to more than nine tenths of the total 
animal kingdom. 

Just as not all unicellular creatures have evolved into poly- 
cellular creatures, and an incalculable number of protozoa have 
remained in the air, in the water, and on the earth, so there are 
even now many creatures which live alone. The number of 
kinds of animals which have risen quite sufficiently high to 
unite together for social purposes is small, although many 
certainly live in herds, which is a good beginning. Properly 
constituted communities exist only among the highest insects, 
such as bees or ants, and among human beings. Consistently 
with the universal tendency toward growth, these communities 
are likewise incessantly growing. In the case of man we shall 
be able to trace this in detail, but even among animals we see 
it clearly. To cite one instance, the most ancient species of 
Hymenopterce (bees and bee-like insects) live solitary lives, 
after which come others, the nest of which contains only a 
very few compartments, whereas modem bees have hives with 
thousands of combs. 

§ 18. — The Impassable Barrier 

There is even a limit to the growth of these conglomerations 
of isolated beings, for the reason that the earth affords sus- 
tenance (in other words, energy) for only a limited number 
of organisms. But whereas the osmotic limit to single-cell or- 
ganisms and the mechanical limit to multicellular organisms 
can be evaded by superior grouping, the limit fixed by the 
amount of energy available is final and impassable. 

Now, many kinds of single-cell creatures and many fully 

1 See Chapter XIII. 


developed species of animals could exist side by side and in 
process of evolution increase and multiply to the utmost 
possible extent. But if one kind were to attain its final stage 
of organization as required by the law of growth, — that is to 
say, if there were, for instance twenty-five billion elephants 
or a thousand billion human beings, or one hundred thousand 
billion guinea-pigs, or ten trillion mice, — then in every single 
case there would he no longer any room on earth for any other 
living creature besides. As every species, however, is striving 
toward this end, the law of growth necessitates struggle ; but, 
what is equally important, it likewise prescribes the conditions 
of such growth. 

At all events, this struggle must be incessantly carried on, 
since there is an enormous risk of being outstripped; and it 
would require an incredibly short time for one species of 
animal to increase to such an extent as to consume all existing 
supplies. It is the bacteria which possess the greatest amount 
of vital energy, and a single bacterium, which splits up every 
hour, has in ten hours produced about a thousand ^ others. 
In the ensuing ten hours each of these bacteria will again pro- 
duce another thousand bacteria ; consequently in twentj^ hours 
their number will be a thousand times one thousand, or one 
million. And this process would continue, were it only pos- 
sible — as, of course, after a time it cannot — to provide the 
bacteria with the necessary quantity of food. That is to say, 
at the end of every ten hours three naughts would have to be 
added to the figure denoting the number of bacteria, which 
in 120 hours, or five days, would have attained a figure with 
thirty-five naughts, and in ten days one with seventy-two 
naughts. Taking even the smallest sphserobacteria of 0.0001 
millimeter ^ diameter, it is easy to calculate that in one day the 
colony would be a just visible pellet of .0098425 of an inch 
diameter; the second day it would already fill a tumbler, on 

1 Thus: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024. 

2 About .00003937 of an inch. — Translator. 


the third a four-story house, and on the fourth be a mountain 
as large as Mont Blanc. At the end of four days and four 
hours it would have increased to such an extent that it could 
cover the whole earth with a living coating of mucus of rather 
more than seven and three quarters of an inch in thickness, 
thus attaining the maximum quantity of living substance which 
could exist on earth. 

Continuing this calculation, we find that by the fifth day the 
colony of bacteria would be as large as the moon, and that 
from the sixth day onward it would exceed all terrestrial 
measurements so rapidly that in ten days' time it would oc- 
cupy the whole of the space visible with the aid of the best 
telescopes — space with a diameter of more than one hundred 
years of light. 

Although the growth of the higher animals to-day does not 
proceed at anything approaching such a pace, nevertheless, 
supposing no impediment to exist to their increase, then one, 
or, as the case may be, two specimens of bacteria would mul- 
tiply in about four days ; rabbits and mice in twenty years ; hu- 
man beings, with four children per couple, in one thousand 
two hundred and fifty years; and elephants in about two 
thousand years, at such a pace as to attain the maximum of 
what is possible in this world. Thus in a comparatively short 
period each species left to itself would be able so completely 
to fill the whole world that there would be no room left for 
anything else. That this has not yet happened is due to this 
very fact that struggles occur between the difi:erent species, 
and that in the nature of things these cannot but be severe. 

Yet it seems amazing that in all the millions of years that 
these struggles have been proceeding no single species should 
have come anywhere near dominating the rest, and in fact that 
all existing organisms absorb only a very insignificant portion 
of the energy actually at their disposal. Whereas each square 
meter of ground could accommodate 440 pounds of living sub- 
stance, in reality it supports only about 0.4 grams of human 



substance, or only two millionths of what is possible; ten 


grains of animal substance, only ■ of wliat is possible; 

and a thousand grams of plant substance, or only — — of what 

is possible.* 

In order to understand why the organic world has availed 
itself so little of the possibilities open to it, and in particular 
why man, this world 's master, should utilize only a smaller and 
smaller fraction thereof, we must inquire more closely into the 
origin of life. Not until we understand for what purpose we 
are striving shall we realize that the reason why we have made 
no progress in this "natural struggle involving all humanity" 
is precisely because we have allowed our attention to be too 
much absorbed by *'interhuman wars.'' 


§ 19. — Why This Struggle is Waged 

The purpose for which this struggle is carried on is sus- 
tenance, using the term in its broadest sense ; and the struggle 
for existence might perhaps be more aptly described as a strug- 
gle for sustenance. This alone explains why as yet no kind of 
organism has succeeded in ousting all other forms of life ; for 
the fox, for instance, needs the hare as food, and if he had 
eaten up the last hare he must perforce starve. 

Thus the eater has really far less to do with regulating the 
numbers of the eaten than vice versa, astonishing as this may 
seem at first to those who believe that they can regulate the 
course of the world with the help of cannon. Moreover, a 

lAt present each square kilometer in the world is inhabited by 11.4 
human beings, whose weight amounts to about 882 pounds avoirdupois 
(that is, four grams per square meter). Owing to the absence of trust- 
worthy statistics, the other figures are based on a comparatively arbi- 
trary estimate, but as far as gradation of size is concernfed they can-^ 
not be wrong. Moreover, the precise figures are not of importance in 
the question under discussion. Of the truth of the principle there can- 
not be any doubt. 


similar, although generally a less simple, connection exists be- 
tween all animals. Above all, however, every animal needs 
plants, for plants alone are capable of extracting sustenance 
from earth, air, fire, and water, the four elements of the an- 
cients. Hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon, the elements 
of which organisms are almost exclusively composed, are found 
in superabundance in earth, air, and water, and also trifling 
additions of other substances. A single shipload of iron, for 
example, would suffice to supply every one in the world with 
all the iron they require (that is, as a physical component), 
if it were merely a question of materials; therefore there 
would be nothing to prevent the entire globe gradually be- 
coming converted into living substance, and henceforth re- 
volving round the sun as a genuine organism. 

What is lacking, however, is the fourth element, fire ; for if 
the actual food be sufficient for fully one hundred trilli(in tons 
of organisms, there is only enough of the fire which gives them 
life and form (that is, the supply of energy in the narrow 
sense of the word) for about one hundred billion tons of living 
substance, or for the millionth part. Let me institute a com- 
parison. Whereas the materials would suffice for a large Ber- 
lin block of flats, the energy would suffice for only one brick. 
Consequently the probability from the outset is that it is the 
comparatively trifling amount of energy-producing sustenance 
which will be the object of struggle. As a matter of fact, this 
is so. Expressed in terms of physics, life is equivalent to 
causing a current of energy to pass through a person. When- 
ever man eats and breathes, he absorbs energy, and whenever 
he works or thinks, he exhales it again, and the source of all 
this energy, as is now known with absolute certainty, is the sun. 

Now, of all organisms it is plants alone which are in a posi- 
tion to utilize the radiating energy of sunlight, and with its 
aid to construct out of earth, air, and water complex chemical 
bodies, which, on combustion, like gunpowder, are capable of 
performing labor. The powder hurls the cannon-ball out of 
the barrel, and in like manner the sugar which I eat enables 


my muscles to throw a stone, living substance, particularly 
that of animals, being capable of consuming the sustenance 
created by plants and converting it again into labor. 

This is commonly called the rotation of life, a misleading 
phrase, because it is only the chemical substances of which 
plants and animals consist that take part in this rotation. 
The genuine life-giving principle, energy, however, does not 
proceed in a cycle, its action being rather comparable to the 
parabolic course of the comets. The energy liberated in the 
sun radiates thence to the earth in eight minutes, remains 
here a certain period, varying from seconds to millions of 
years, and then slowly, but for us irrevocably, quits the earth, 
and finally, transformed into heat, radiates into incommensur- 
able space. 

While on earth the sun's energy collects water to form 
clouds, raises winds, and gives rise to ocean currents, causes 
plants to grow, and by means of plants feeds animals. With- 
out the sun this earth would be a body ever in repose — the 
repose of death. Not a breath of wind would ruffle the surface 
of the water, not a cloud arise in the sky. No rain would fall, 
and there would be neither trees nor shrubs, neither animals 
nor human beings. The sun's energy may remain long on 
earth, and in coal it has perhaps been lying for millions of 
years ; but the day must come when it will leave the earth and 
find its way out into the realms of space. 

Now, what is needed is to utilize this transient force, ab- 
sorbing as much or causing as much of it as possible to pass 
through ourselves. This stream of energy, however, without 
which life could not exist, is of course limited in size, and to 
form an approximate estimate of its volume is by no means 
impossible. Pouillet, in fact, has already done this. As it is 
known how much energy must pass through every pound 
weight so that it may live, so it is also known, as has just been 
pointed out, that the earth cannot support more than a hun- 
dred billion tons of living substance at most. This quantity, 
however, could live; and if man were able to attract all the 


available energy to his own race, then, instead of, as at present, 
1.5 billions being able to live upon the earth, about three mil- 
lion billions could do so. Mankind, therefore, might increase 
a millionfold. Then, instead of only eleven human beings on 
an average living on each square kilometer of earth, as is now 
the case, twenty millions would do so, or, as some means 
would probably then be discovered of living on the water, six 
millions. In any case there would then be six human beings 
for each square meter, and mankind would therefore have to 
emulate the ants, and live in buildings of many stories, one 
above another. 

Now, this number of human beings is attainable, although 
for reasons presently to be explained we shall probably never 
do more than approach it. At all events, not only is there 
room on earth for all those at present inhabiting it, but for 
countless billions besides. 

Mankind is now in the midst of this colossal struggle, which 
is literally a struggle for a place in the sun; and this is the 
struggle which ought to be fought out. Whatever assists it 
means victory; whatever hinders it means defeat. 

§ 20. — Struggle in the Animal World 

The object of this struggle for existence is thus made clear 
beyond all possible doubt. Every animal and every species 
of animal must aim at conducting through itself and its own 
race the largest possible share of the universal stream of 
energy ; but there are very many different ways in which this 
object might be attained. 

The first and most primitive method consists in attempting 
to deprive others of something by killing them and endeavor- 
ing to utilize the energy formerly absorbed by them. If we 
reflect that the entire animal world does not use up more than 
one twenty-thousandth part of the energy available, it is evi- 
dent that *' theft" would be of even less use in this case than 
otherwise, and that this kind of struggle could not come into 
consideration unless the hitherto unused energy were abso- 


lutely unusable. If all the bakers' shops were shut, it is con- 
ceivable that some one might commit murder for the Sake of 
food ; but if loaves were lying about by the thousand, it would 
be madness for any one to strike a wretched beggar dead to 
get a dry crust. As will shortly be shown, man, more than 
any other creature, is capable of utilizing for his own purposes 
all the energy hitherto lying fallow, as it were ; and he, there- 
fore, has absolutely no need to attempt to obtain it by any 
foul methods. However, it was just such methods that were 
invoked in order to popularize the struggle for existence, 
which for most of us signifies simply killing one another. 

In long-past times open combat was of considerable im- 
portance, the means at the disposal of animals for the full utili- 
zation of energy being very inadequate. Before man could 
be lord of this world the big birds of prey had first to be ex- 
terminated, which caused even the old Roman statesman and 
philosopher Boetius^ to ridicule war between man and man. 
"Ye draw the sword against one another," he said, "while ye 
yourselves are threatened by snakes and lions, bears and 
tigers.'' Nowadays, however, this does not really hold good 
any longer. Man, as if still an animal and with the ways of 
animals, fought to a finish his struggle with the animal king- 
dom; and all that he now remembers is his fight against 
bacteria, which, characteristically enough, are the smallest 
known living creatures. But this kind of struggle does not, 
even in the case of animals, really count as part of the struggle 
for existence, at any rate not in so far as it aims at effecting 
selection ; for if one kind of animal destroys another, it does 
not on that account become stronger or fitter. The destruction 
merely proves that the victor was already stronger and fitter. 
On the other hand, it is a well-known fact that wherever they 
have no competition to fear, the old inefficient types have sur- 
vived a remarkably long while. This is notably the case with 
Australia, where there are no native mammals. 

Increasing the race by merely insuring its increased fer- 

1 Amicius M. S. Boethius (470-525), "Consolatio Philosophiae." 


tility might be considered a second form of struggle for life. 
If every creature uses up one calory,^ then one hundred will 
use up one hundred, and one thousand will consume one thou- 
sand calories. This is so simple an example that it is at once 
clear to every one, and for a time the increase of the human 
race was considered a universal panacea and the one object 
to be attained. But the fact was forgotten that increase is 
valuable only in so far as the race is at the same time im- 
proved, and that greater fertility does little to promote selec- 
tion unless more children are produced than can live under 
existing conditions. Many would then of necessity die young, 
and in accordance with universal law would be chiefly weak- 
lings, so that the result would be a finer race than if few chil- 
dren were born and all remained alive without discrimination. 

In Germany to-day the population, despite a rapidly falling 
birth-rate, increases in number, owing to decreased mortality, 
which may be a testimony to the excellence of German sani- 
tation and public health regulations, but biologically is cer- 
tainly not an advantage. This desire to increase population 
at any cost, this mad craze for numbers, moreover, is not due 
to scientific reflection. At the back of it is rather the desire, 
which I admit is often vague, for as many soldiers as possible. 
It is thus not a direct, but only an indirect, result of Darwin- 
ian teachings, traceable to the notion of struggle contained 

Increased population is supposed to be the consequence of 
higher evolution, but such increase is not itself likely to 
promote evolution, since the individual organisms and the dif- 
ferent species of animals have arisen independently of one 
another, and their mutual dependence is so great that it is 
scarcely ever possible for one to increase alone. If the lion is 
to increase, then the gazelles must first do so also; if there are 
to be swallows, then there must first be more flies. Beasts of 
prey, in short, are dependent upon their prey, which in turn 

1 Term signifying the measure with which energy is measured. Man 
requires twenty-five hundred calories daily. 


depends upon plants. Hence the old saw that in reality all 
animals and human beings are vegetable feeders, except that 
the ox digests the grass for us beforehand, which is only a way 
of saying that the animal kingdom is dependent upon the 
plant world. 

Plants alone derive sustenance direct from the sun's rays, 
and thus they alone in the whole creation ought to be able 
to increase independently and on their own account. Even 
they, however, are dependent on animals in an extraordinarily 
large number of ways, of which here only the processes of 
fertilization need be mentioned. In principle, at any rate, 
they could so increase, and it is a fact that by far the greatest 
number of organisms upon earth are plant organisms. 
Whether animals are as one per cent, or more as compared 
with plants is perhaps hard to say, but in any case plants are 
in a very large majority. 

§ 21. — Human Struggle on Animal Lines 

In general, even man has hitherto contrived to increase 
only by breeding animals and cultivating plants. In this re- 
spect, therefore, progress seems to move in a circle, whence 
there is no escape, so that man can produce more only by mak- 
ing other creatures produce more. By this means, however, 
it is possible to make a sensible advance, for so long as man 
lived simply like an animal and took whatever he could lay 
hands on, probably at most one hundred million such human 
beings, of comparatively modest requirements and lil^ewise 
comparatively unskilful, could have found conditions on earth 
under which they could have lived. 

Then came the time when man made himself master of this 
world, although at first merely of the animal and vegetable 
kingdoms. Now we arrange the world as we please, allowing 
only such animals and plants to persist as are most serviceable 
to us — cultivated plants and domestic animals. Thus man- 
kind is enabled to take a good step forward, and so far we 
have already increased fifteenfold since the barbarous age 


when man depended on what he could casually find; for in- 
stead of about one hundred millions, the world now contains 
fifteen hundred millions. Did we make the utmost possible 
use of everything in this the agricultural period of develop- 
ment, we might increase another fifteenfold; for if the very 
most were made of the whole world, probably one hundred 
and fifty human beings could live on each square kilometer, 
and the population would thus attain 22,500 millions.^ There 
is, however, still energy enough for 100,000 times more human 

The following table is instructive : — 

Population in round numbers which the earth could support 
at different periods: 

Barbaric period 100 millions 

Agrarian period ) present .... 1,500 " 

" " ) maximum... 20,000 " 

Period of full utihzation of energy. .. 3,000,000,000 " 

We are, therefore, half-way through the agricultural period, 
which must already have lasted about twenty thousand years, 
perhaps longer ; but we may rest assured that we shall be far 
less long covering the second half of the journey, as we are 
now directing our knowledge and efforts toward this end. 

The reason why with agricultural methods we cannot rise 
above a population of twenty billions is by no means merely 
because we are obliged to provide sustenance for such vast 
numbers of plants and animals in order in turn to obtain 
sustenance ourselves, but mainly because we do not make ra- 

1 During the war Germany is proving that she is almost capable of 
supporting a population of 120 per square kilometer. But Germany is 
neitlier a very fertile country nor is the very most made of it as yet. 
Even China, not including Mongolia and Tibet, with her ''unscientific 
agriculture," has succeeded in supporting a population of about fifty- 
two to the square kilometer, which, were the whole world equally 
densely peopled, would be equivalent to a population of about seven and 
a half billions. 


tional use of energy, superabundance of which is nevertheless 
available. Most important of all, however, is the fact that 
we still continue to use plants in order, with their aid, to 
utilize the sun 's rays. Plants, it is true, are the gift of nature, 
but they are, comparatively speaking, very imperfect, and we 
know that there are better methods than to have resort to 


§ 22. — Increase of Vitality 

This new method of combat, which, in its highest and most 
conscious form, at all events, is confined to human society 
alone, depends on the opening up of fresh sources of energy, 
which can be partly done by increasing the vitality of the in- 
dividual person. 

Animal organisms are capable of consuming vegetable food 
and converting it into labor, — that is to say, using it to move 
muscles, form secretions, and develop brain activity, — in short, 
to do whatever is useful to the living creature in question. 
But as life consists solely of such actions, it is clear that the 
more of this current of energy an animal can utilize for itself 
and its own purposes, the greater will be its vitality. 

If an animal is to creep or run, jump or climb, swim or 
fly, faster and better, then, other things being equal, it must 
consume more energy; and if it becomes capable of reacting 
more quickly or with less provocation, then it must be able 
to use up its self-contained energy faster ; that is, to consume 
more energy than before in a given period. Every advance, 
in short, whether in perceptiveness or in capacity for work 
is possible only by increased consumption of energy; and the 
whole difference between us and the lowest form of animal 
life crawling about sluggishly on the bottom of the ocean can 
be expressed in terms of energy. 

This example suffices to show how much living creatures 
have already perfected themselves in the process of evolution ; 
for the living substance of the higher animals actually is 


capable of increased output of labor ; that is, it consumes more 
energy. In their case assimilation of nutriment is said to 
proceed much more rapidly. The quantity of energy con- 
sumed per kilogram in an hour by polyps, for instance, grow- 
ing almost motionless at the bottom of the sea, is comparatively 
trifling. The quantity of energy passing through insects, 
cuttlefish, frogs, and reptiles is decidedly greater ; but not tiU 
we reach the higher animals do we find this current of energy 
attaining such intensity as permanently to warm the body. 
Man, for instance, has acquired the capacity of using up be- 
tween one and two calories per kilogram and per hour; and 
one human being, therefore, consumes in an hour about a 
hundred calories, or even very much more in case of severe 
physical exertion. Although in course of millions of years 
the power of assimilating energy may have increased, yet man 
can scarcely be said to be better off in this respect than other 
mammals. Man 's superiority is based on something different. 
By improving their physical substance and correspondingly 
improving their organs, animals have acquired the power of 
utilizing large quantities of energy. Thus, when the slowly 
quivering muscle of a worm evolves into the rapidly quivering 
muscle of an insect, the creature must simultaneously acquire 
increased capacity for work, else there would be no object in 
the improved muscle; and this principle obtains everjrwhere. 
Every new organ is conditioned by and requires a capacity 
for making use of increased and, if necessary, fresh sources of 
energy, which sources the more highly developed creature finds 
in eating more and consequently working more. It cannot, 
however, eat more than it can use up, and thus in the organi- 
zation of any particular creature a limit is set to the struggle 
for energy. 

§ 23. — The Utilization of Extraneous Energy 

Man, however, can do more than this. As I shall show 
more in detail later on,^ the highest animals possess about the 

1 See paragraph 26. 


maximum number of organs which they are in a position to 
maintain. I also propose to show what an advantage it has 
been to man from the psychological point of view to have been 
able to use organs which can be laid aside or changed, as tools. 
Here, however, I wish to lay stress upon another aspect of 
this acquired capacity to use tools — the fact that it enables 
man to utilize for his own purposes almost unlimited quan- 
tities of energy. I admit that this is not absolutely wilhout 
precedent in the animal kingdom, for man, after all, is re- 
sponsible for hardly any absolute innovation.^ 

For instance, when a bird of prey high up aloft circles round 
and round almost motionless, it is utilizing the energy of the 
wind, and when ants keep slaves, they are utilizing part of 
the latter 's vital energy; but it was man from whose groping 
efforts something independent was first evolved. Man it was 
who first developed and extended the struggle for energy by 
learning to make use of extraneous energy without its passing 
through his body. The beginning of this phase of develop- 
ment may be traced even among the most primitive human 
beings, who made the ox pull for them, the horse run for them, 
the dog hear and smell for them, and the sheep protect them 
from cold. Every domestic animal, indeed, that primitive 
man tamed for his own ends became a factor in the production 
of energy. Animals, however, were, after all, utilized only 
by making them do that which was natural for them to do; 
and a further difiiculty very soon made itself felt, — a diffi- 
culty which has become very manifest in Germany during the 
present war, — that a horse which eats oats is thereby eating 
man's food. If we can imagine the whole world ever being 
so full of horses and human beings as is Germany to-day, then 
it will be impossible any longer to import food from anywhere, 
and even in times of peace there will be keen competition be- 

1 In reality the only innovation in principle and without parallel in 
nature is the wheel, which, with its axle, cannot be formed by any 
single organism. The realization of this fact would simplify many 
problems, particularly in aeronautics. 


tween human beings and the horses that they themselves 
have bred. 

Obviously, if all horses were replaced by motor-cars, then 
more human beings could live on earth than formerly. In this 
case the motor-car represents the new principle according to 
which man is able to compel almost whatever quantities of 
energy he pleases to do his behests. Not domestic animals, 
but fire, it is which makes man lord of the world. When man 
first caused the solar energy stored up in plants to explode 
and catch fire, he opened up for himself a novel source of 
power, and thus lent such an extraordinary impetus to the 
conversion of energy that we are quite entitled to speak of 
things in general having taken a new turn, and to date the 
mastery of nature from the kindling of the first fire. 

Now, in process of time, but more particularly during the 
last hundred years, this new principle has been developed to 
such an enormous extent that we may even now say that in 
future the old animal principles of struggle for existence will 
be subordinate to others ; for already it is possible to see almost 
unlimited vistas of progress opening up, whereas, as has just 
been shown, nature has everywhere set bounds to the animal 
struggle for existence. 

No one doubts that machinery has revolutionized the w^orld, 
and what has now to be proved is that, in accordance with 
the general rules of the struggle for existence, a machinery 
victory is the only possible victory which man can still win 

At present almost all the so-called natural forces have been 
pressed into our service, but in reality we still continue to use 
solar energy. The water which is drawn up by the sun and 
gradually flows back again to the sea drives our mills. The 
woods which grew up in the sunshine of prehistoric times, con- 
verted into coal, propel our railways, steamers, and electric 
works, or, changed into benzoin, our motor-cars and airships. 

These are only a few instances out of many, and the original 
amount of energy which man can pass direct through his own 


body has long been far exceeded by the amount which he in- 
cludes in his own sphere of influence alone. In Germany, 
for example, a human being consumes physically between two 
and three thousand calories daily, whereas with the aid of 
machinery he consumes on an average from twenty to thirty 

A great deal has been achieved in this way, but man can 
still make scarcely any use of solar energy except indirectly 
by taking it from plants, from waterfalls, from coal seams, or 
from petroleum springs. These sources of energy are con- 
siderable, and not yet fully exploited, but they are smaller 
and smaller in comparison with the energy which radiates 
from the sun to the earth, and most of which never assumes 
forms in which we could easily utilize it, but remains as heat, 
and in this way radiates, unused, back into space again. 

In theory man can directly transmute solar energy into la- 
bor, and that in practice he does not do this is partly to be 
accounted for by his having found comparatively large quan- 
tities of energy conveniently accessible in the form of water- 
falls, pit coal, woods, etc. But in the meantime, at any rate, 
he still needs plants, because they are the only machines in 
which solar energy is transmuted into food. Only in plants 
does carbon unite with water to form sugar, and if we could 
succeed in producing sugar and other food-stulfs without the 
help of plants, then we could really boast of having conquered 
plants. Indeed, we should not only have * ' distilled" life from 
the four elements, but at the same time solved the problem 
of the homunculus. True, not a single human being would 
be manufactured straight away in the retort, but there would 
be sustenance for thousands of millions; and as soon as sus- 
tenance is at hand, the spawn is not long in following. The 
last thing which the blind Faust realizes is that man cannot 
be made happy, but it is enough to open up a free way for a 
free people.^ 

iSee the last act of "Faust." Part TT. The speech alluded to is the 
one beginning, "Ein Sumpf zieht am Gebirge bin." — ^Translator. 


Faust would fain wrest new ground from the sea, and not 
rob others of what they have already occupied ; and the doc- 
trine of rightful or wrongful struggle may be summarized 
thus: wherever new ground is won, struggle is justifiable, 
life-promoting, and good; hut wherever it merely aims at de- 
priving others of something, it is UNJUSTIFIABLE, death- 
dealing, and tad. 

For thousands of years the Netherlands carried on their 
slow, life-promoting, struggle against water, and at the same 
time were a model of what a peacefully advancing people 
should be. It would be more than usually regrettable were 
a fine modem struggle such as this to be ended now by force, 

§ 24. — Creative Struggle and War of Extermination 

It is for us now to carry on in principle and on the largest 
possible battle-field this struggle for new ground which the 
Netherlands with their primitive means could begin only in 
the literal sense of the words. 

Moltke,^ when a young man, once laid it down that to in- 
crease population by one fourth in peace was of at least as 
much value as to conquer a province one fourth as large as 
the country. We might calculate on this basis the extent of 
possible conquests in the war of the future; and to any one 
who does so and who once realizes the billions of human beings 
implicated therein, and moreover realizes that every one of 
the present belligerents might, so to speak, conquer the entire 
globe, the present cat fights ^ with cannon in which at most a 
few millions are moved hither and thither will seem as insig- 
nificant as they really are. 

Once solar energy is rationally exploited and made to serve 

1 Letter from Moltke, written in 1840. 

2 By the expression "cat fights" no disrespect is intended toward the 
victims of the battles now in progress, entailing as they do such trials 
and sacrifices upon the individual combatant; but despite all the respect 
we owe those taking part in them, such combats are, from the point of 
view of natural science, cat fights, scrimmages for the most trivial of 


us directly, like a domestic animal, then every acre of land, 
even land which at present scarcely supports a single human 
being, will be able to provide sustenance for thousands.^ As 
regards direct utilization of solar energy as food not much 
has been achieved hitherto, but apart from this we do already 
utilize considerable quantities of extraneous energy. The 
world is inhabited by one and a half billion human beings, 
each of whom consumes every year not quite one million 
calories. Now, the world's total production of pit coal is 
about one and a half billion tons ; that is, one ton of coal per 
inhabitant annually. As each ton produces about eight mil- 
lion calories, it follows that by means of his coal-driven ma- 
chines man already works about eight times as much as with 
his arms.^ If we include the utilization of water-power, of 
animal labor, and of several other minor sources of power, it 
is not too much to say that even now fully ten times as much 
labor is done by machinery in this world as by man. More- 
over, every extension of coal-mining, every fresh source of 
energy opened up, confers increased vital powers upon man ; 
and, were social conditions organized on anything approaching 
a reasonable basis, might also mean a saving of labor. Were 
the seventeen million horse-power energy contained in the 
Falls of Niagara profitably employed, about one third of all 
human labor could be performed by this means alone. 

Obviously, with such forces the burden of overworked man 
could easily be lightened, as indeed has- already been pointed 
out. (Cf. § 15.) I have also indicated the reason why this 
has hitherto not been done. All these problems, moreover, no 
longer belong to the dim distant future, but, at all events in 

iTo this subject I have already referred in paragraphs 18 and 21, 
where I quoted exact figures. 

2 A very perfunctory calculation, for neither man nor machinery 
transmutes into profitable labor the whole amount of calories received, 
and in both cases the percentage of waste differs. The above estimate, 
however, is sufficiently accurate to enable the reader to survey the 
general results; and it is beyond doubt that even now the sum total of 
labor performed by machinery many times exceeds the sum total of that 
performed by man. 


principle, are already solved, and only awaiting practical ap- 
plication. Thermo-electricity enables us to make direct and 
rational use of solar energy, and the researches of modern 
chemists, in particular of Emil Fischer and his pupils, have 
already proved that the artificial production of food-stuffs is 
possible. Already we have succeeded in artificially producing 
most food-stuffs, in fact, everything except the synthesis of 
albumen. Of late years, however, we have made great strides 
towards producing this also. 

But we cannot yet make practical use of these experiments 
in the laboratory, and in order to do this we have still need 
of struggle. Our object is within sight; on this round ball 
there is still room for great deeds,* and wherever we see **the 
purposeless forces of undisciplined elements" at work, we 
exclaim with Goethe : 

"Hier wagt mein Geist sieli selbst zu iiberfliegen, 
Hier moeht' ich kiimpfen, dies mocht' ich besiegen !" ^ 

Compared with this marvelous human struggle, how pitiable 
does war appear! What has it to do with the struggle for 
existence ? Assuredly nothing, save for the fact that it is per- 
petually destroying a fraction, even if only a small fraction, 
of mankind without in reality helping in the struggle. It is 
therefore simply and solely due to degeneration, as for that 
matter we have always considered it in the case of animals, to 
which we adopt an altogether more impartial attitude. In this 
human struggle alone have we an innate right to engage — a 
struggle requiring all our physical, mental and moral energies ; 
and to *'do'our bit'^ in it is no less our inalienable right, 
our bounden duty. 

War is right. Not yesterday's obsolete war, that of man 
against man, but rather a new life — dispensing war for man 's 

1 "Noch iramer gewahrt der Erdkreia Raum zu grossen Taten" are 
the words in the text. — Translator. 

2 Roughly : "Here does my spirit dare even to transcend itself ; here 
is something worth fighting for, here something worth overcoming." — 


mastery over the earth and its forces, an ever-youthful war, 
of which we have probably not yet fought out a millionth 
part, but which our era is preparing to tackle with quite 
different methods from those which have prevailed in any 
previous, era. Already, as I have hinted, we can catch a 
glimpse of wonderful conquests over nature — conquests por- 
tending victories such as no human being ever yet won. And 
here comes some one and insists upon our going into raptures 
over civilized human beings crawling about on the ground and 
shooting at one another ! 

Even Faust realized that a higher type of human being 
can find satisfaction only in struggle with nature. He, too, 
had dallied with love and waged wars for love. As philoso- 
pher he had dealt in the wisdom of the ancients, and as mer- 
chant with money and merchandize. In war and peace he 
had rescued countries and their rulers, and thus he would 
seem to have achieved the utmost that is possible for any one 
in this historic world. Yet on looking back over it all he con- 
fesses that all is vanity and vexation of spirit ; and not until 
he turns to the simple task of building a dike in order that a 
new mankind may have new homesteads, does he experience the 
divine bliss of creation. It is this creative struggle which we 
have to substitute for the struggle for extermination. 

Emil Fischer has produced an artificial substitute for sugar, 
and may perhaps find one for albumen. He is the founder, 
or at any rate the forerunner, of the new era of humanity, 
and all generations to come will gratefully refer to him as 
one of the great conquerors in the struggle for the foundations 
of life. He really practised that "divine art" of which 
Archimedes speaks. Professor Haber, who has utilized his 
scientific knowledge for the manufacture of asphyxiating 
bombs, will perhaps not be forgotten either; but he need not 
even dream of becoming as famous as Archimedes, "defend- 
ing his native soil against the Roman legions. ' ' ^ First of all, 
that was two thousand years ago, and, secondly, all Archi- 

1 Schiller, "Archimedes and the School-boy." 


medes really did was to defend Syracuse when it was be- 
sieged, and in so doing he made no use whatever of poison, 
which was still only used by certain classes of people; and, 
finally, the fame of Archimedes does not rest upon his having 
defended his native soil, which was allied with Carthage for 
two whole years against European ideas, then embodied or at 
any rate, dimly conceived by Rome. It rests upon the fact 
that he was the first real physicist, and therefore all life-dis- 
pensing victories of the future may be traced back to his 
preparatory work. 


§ 25. — Conformity to Law and Unfettered Harmony 

It is the custom to say that the struggle for existence selects 
from among living creatures those best suited to withstand it. 
Such selection, however, takes place not only in the animate, 
but also in the inanimate, world, and it is quite easy to see 
that, after all, suitability for a particular purpose and con- 
formity to law are identical, except that we are accustomed 
to consider them from different points of view. Thus we 
might say there was "suitability" in the fact that, owing to 
the earth's comparatively slow rotation, centrifugal force is 
smaller than force of attraction, otherwise everything on 
earth would be hurled out into boundless space beyond hope 
of recovery. Further reflection shows us, however, that there 
is nothing really "suitable" about this for any pui-pose, but 
that at best it ' ' could not be otherwise. ' ' 

Wherever centrifugal force is greater than force of gravity, 
no central body at all can be formed; and if this were to be 
the case throughout the cosmic system, then there would be 
no fixed heavenly bodies, and the whole world would be dif- 
ferent from what it now is ; and in case any form of life had 
developed, it must have acquired equilibrium with the help of 
quite other forces, and must therefore have been quite differ- 
ent from what it actually is. But if it were to exist, it must 


of course have been also adapted to this other kind of con- 
stellation of force. Conversely, no one need wonder that the 
shape of this world's mountains and edifices as well as the 
rotation of water and of life should conform in their smallest 
details and in every respect to gravitation ; otherwise all these 
things could not justify their existence, or, to put it more 
accurately, could not exist at all. 

Similarly with regard to every detail of the organic world. 
Undoubtedly it is important for vegetable feeders that there 
should be plants, and for beasts of prey that there should be 
prey; but if, after all, there were no plants, then no such 
animals as we now know could have been formed, and if there 
were no hares, there would be no justification for the exist- 
ence of foxes. 

Thus it happens that* to any one who thinks along lines of 
natural science, this unity of the world, which used to amaze 
every one who contemplated it, seems a matter of course. 
The natural scientist sees no cause for astonishment in * * every- 
thing being welded together to form one whole,'' knowing as 
he does that this conformity to law, which strikes us as har- 
mony, must ever recur under the influence of the all-powerful 
force of nature. 

Neither can man avoid this dependence upon others. For 
instance, in a country in which there were no subjects there 
could also be no kings. Nevertheless, in this harmony of na- 
ture man produces the effect of something out of place, for 
he with his free will takes upon him to withstand the com- 
pelling force of nature. And this, moreover, he is able to do. 

Much destruction has been wrought owing to this freedom 
of man. He has everywhere carried pain and grief, unrest 
and confusion, into the safe recesses of ** perfect" nature, war 
between man and man being only one of the many forms of 
error into which the human race has fallen. But as earnest of 
good to come, man cherishes the belief in a new harmonious 
order of things, which he himself will create according to his 
own free will. True, animals' instinct can never err, while 


with man, error and endeavors are inseparable. But it is not 
less true that endeavor is made possible by error, and this 
fact is worth more to us than any mechanically arranged 
harmonious order of things, however perfect. With man came 
sin into the world, but likewise virtue ; slavery, but also liberty ; 
war, but also sweet peace. How can this apparent dualism be ? 
How could man rise as it were above the laws to which he 
owes his being ? How was it possible for him to overcome the 
force of nature ? 

§ 26. — The Evolution of the Brain 

That there is some connection between this liberation of 
man and the evolution of the brain cannot reasonably be 
doubted. It is by his brain and by his brain only that he is 
distinguished from every other living creature. For all our 
other physical attributes there is not only some analogy in 
the animal kingdom, but, as modern comparative anatomy has 
shown, almost all of them have remained comparatively primi- 
tive even, and most of all the extremities, although the con- 
trary always used to be supposed. The human brain alone 
has developed by leaps and bounds and with unexampled 
rapidity until its size (that'is, as an organ of the intelligence ^ 
compared with the weight of the body), is about a hundred 
per cent, greater than that of the brains of all living creatures, 
even those of the highest order. 

This sudden advance, which seems doubly enigmatic when 
we consider how particularly slow and steady has been the 
development of the brain in other living creatures, must be 
explained. All living creatures, as we have seen, are in- 
tended to absorb the utmost possible amount of energy, which 
with lower animals amounts to eating as much as possible. 

iThis organ of the intelligence does not mean something merely 
proportional. It may be stated somewhat as follows: Brain weight = 
al plus 6Z2 plug cl^ plus i, I standing for the length of the animal, and 
% for its intelligence, and a, h, and c being constant quantities to be 
empirically fixed. Now the limb i in man has become greater by leaps 
and bounds. 


They achieve this by having developed' organs of sense for 
finding things, legs for running, arms for clasping, mouths 
for swallowing, teeth for biting, glands for digesting, and so 
on. Thus the animal body, with its manifold and apparently 
many-sided organs, came into existence, but in order that it 
may work as a complete whole, the legs must really run in 
the direction in which the nose has scented prey, and the 
mouth must snap where the eyes see prey; in short, every 
muscle of the body must do what the organs of sense require 
it to do. Some means of communication is therefore necessary 
between the organs of perception and the organs of action. 
Hence the nervous system arose, and, in the higher animals, 
for reasons which it would take too long to explain here, the 
brain, not as an end in itself, but as something of secondary 
importance. The brain was originally merely the servant of 
the organs connected with the business of feeding. In this 
capacity it was certainly important, but had no independent 
influence on the real significance of life. 

This dependence of the brain on the organs connected with 
food persisted. Whenever the organs of sense or prehensile 
organs improved, there was a corresponding improvement in 
the brain. It readily kept pace with the development of the 
body, but could not advance a single step beyond it. How 
indeed could a special organ have been developed for under- 
standing speech if man had had neither a mouth to speak with 
nor ears to hear with? The development of the brain thus 
was and is dependent on the development of organs the num- 
ber of which is, after all, limited. 

Even Aristotle knew that no animal with horns or antlers 
has also the teeth of a beast of prey. In other words, that 
animals are provided with only one means of defense. Simi- 
larly, animals have either good eyes or good noses: they are 
''seeing animals'' or "smelling animals,'' but never both at 
once. This economy is necessarj^ for if an animal were over- 
provided with organs, it would no longer be able properly to 
fulfil the purpose for which, after all, it exists — feeding. 


Thus throughout all these thousands of years the brain con- 
tinued faithfully to serve its master until the revolution came 
which first liberated it and then placed it on the throne. 

Man alone has undergone this revolution, for man alone by 
grasping a stone converted his unarmed hand into an armed 
one. Li so doing he may not have created any new bodily 
organ, but, as Kapp,^ unfortunately now almost forgotten, 
phrases it, he planned an organic extension, thus acquiring 
new capacities, just as if he had really added another organ 
to his body. But — and this distinction is profoundly signifi- 
cant — this acquisition does not inconvenience its owner. If 
he no longer needs his new organ, he can lay it aside or even 
exchange it for other organs, and is thus gradually enabled 
to acquire a multiplicity of organs such as no living creature 
would ever be able to carry about. 

The human brain has been influenced to a quite extraordi- 
nary extent by this circumstance. These new organs cannot 
fail to affect and perfect the brain, just as the old organs did ; 
but whereas the brain used to be forced to wait until the new 
organs were there, now it acquires its new organs itself, and 
perfects itself through them by its own force. By thus ' ' cre- 
ating organs for itself, ' ' therefore, the brain acquires freedom 
and independence, first of all from its body, be it noted. 

All animals depend greatly upon physical advantages, but 
in man these are of comparatively little moment. Of what 
use are the best eyes, since they cannot do what comparatively 
inferior telescopes and microscopes can do? Of what use is 
a good nose or tongue to us in comparison with the benefits 

iKapp's "Outlines of Technical Philosophy" ( "Gnindlinien einer 
Philosophie der Technik"), 1877. G. Westermann: Brunswick. Pp. 
29-39. Cf. also Noire's "Tools and Their Importance in the History 
of Human Evolution'* ("Das Werkzeug und seine Bedeutung fiir die 
Entwicklungsgeschichte der Menschleit" ) , 1880. J. Diemer: Mayence. 
Both these works are based very largely on L. Geiger's "Origin and 
Development of Human Speech and Reason" ("Ursprung und Entwick- 
lung der menschlichen Sprache und Vernunft") : Stuttgart, 1868. This 
idea, however, was first expressed by Ferdinand Lassaile, who in 1880 
said, "Absolute self-sufficiency is the lowest pitch of humanity." 


conferred on us by chemistry? Our telephones and micro- 
phones enable us to hear farther and better, our mechanical 
scales and other metrical instruments to feel more than any 
animal with the best special organs of sense. For what do 
we need great physical strength when we have steam hammers, 
hydraulic presses, and giant cranes to work for us? Or speed, 
with railways and motor-cars to run for us? We need learn 
neither to swim nor to fly, since our steamers and submarines, 
our aeroplanes and airships can do so. Every achievement of 
excellence produced at any time during millions of years in the 
animal kingdom man's young brain has likewise produced and 
brought to greater perfection.^ We see more clearly than fal- 
cons, smell better than dogs, hear farther than elephants, and 
have a finer sense of touch than bats ' wings. We are stronger 
than the rhinoceros, while in speed we easily excel the horse 
on earth, the eagle in the air, and the shark in the water.^ 

§ 27. — The Autonomy of the Brain 

From henceforth the brain, now free and powerful, is the 
decisive factor in the struggle for existence, for to-day in- 
tellectual struggles are of more importance than hand-to-hand 
fighting. Even if all the dwellers upon earth stuck knives 
into one another, they could not, if the worst came to the 
worst, do more than kill one another all out, and there would 
be a billion and a half dead, which, after all, is scarcely con- 
ceivable. If, however, a single person succeeded in directly 
utilizing solar energy for the production of food, this would 
mean enabling a billion and a half living beings to live (that 
is, a thousand times as many), which will one day actually 
come to pass.^ Truly our tools are weapons, but to be used 

1 Even Helmholtz once said, "If an optician were to bring me an eye, 
I would refuse it as bungling work." 

2 Our airships, however, cannot yet overtake the falcon, and the 
dolphin is probably swifter than even our latest racing yachts. 

3 The three thousand billions mentioned above are conceivable, and 
the billion and a half mentioned here are probable, indeed, in so far as 
such a statement can be made as to the future, they are a certainty. 


against nature and not against man. Our first tool, a stone, 
was a weapon, but a weapon in the struggle for food, and a 
tool for turning up the soil.^ Afterward this weapon for at- 
tacking earth and wood was used against animals, and finally 
against man also. 

But this is contrary not merely to morality, but also to 
truth, for we are not simply a part of nature. In man *s small 
brain the whole of "creation" was pondered over and imi- 
tated, and as a result of the freedom thus achieved we are 
enabled to *Mive according to laws of our own.'' Therefore 
it is that hitman action differs from any natural events and 
therefore it is that we must not consider war in the light of 
an earthqual'e. Even were it true, which, as has been shown, 
it is not, that war is nature's only outlet, this natural com- 
pulsion would still not apply to us, for man ought not even 
to draw his sword except of his own free will and with a sense 
of his responsibility in so doing. The struggle for existence 
is no excuse, nor does it afford any analogy. 

Even the usages of war unconsciously admit this, for any 
one who wants to fight to-day must arm others, since an 
isolated person, be he never so brave, is too weak. Arming 
others and winning allies, even among one's own people, can 
be done only by persuasion, by influencing men 's minds ; that 
is, by words. As this present war clearly shows, and as its 
issue will show still more clearly, therefore, nothing is so im- 
portant and essential as persuasion, as intellectual struggle, 

Between one and two thousand years after the introduction of the 
synthetic reproduction of food-stuffs, they will have been reached, and 
then the world in general would be as thickly populated as a garden city. 

[In England and Germany a billion =; a million millions (1,000,000,- 
000,000; in France and America, however, the word (French milliard) 
generally means a thousand millions = 1,000,000,000. In the ease of 
the first figure Dr. Nicolai uses the word milUdrde, and in the ease of the 
second figure the word hillion. — Translator.] 

1 Cf. Lazarus Geiger's "Origin and Development of Human Speech and 
Reason" ("Ursprung and Entwicklung der menschlichen Sprache und 
Vernunft"). J. G. Cotta: Stuttgart, 1868. Geiger shows that the 
most ancient tool was used for turning up the soil. 


even if such struggle should appear to be temporarily in 
abeyance. In any case, we must never lose faith in the free- 
dom and omnipotence of the intellect; and even now all who 
hope for any improvement must in their heart of hearts be 
convinced that the power of persuasion is mightier than that 
of the brute force. 

No one should take this comfort to his soul more than 
the friends of peace, forsaken as they may at present seem. 
It has been somewhat scornfully said of them that such a 
handful of men attempting to withstand the war giant are 
like a small dog barking at the engine of an express-train go- 
ing at full speed : the engine would run straight over the dog 
without being affected. No doubt, for the dog has at most 
one millionth part as much living force as the express-train, 
and if man could do nothing but throw his body in front of 
threatening evil his power would not avail much either. 
Man's will, however, is not bound down to the strength sup- 
plied him by his body, but he has the power of releasing al- 
most indefinite forces. Only think. One screw in the rails 
loosened, and the whole stately express engine is a heap of 
dust. No dog can do this; but man can. 

The influence which man exerts upon his fellow-man cannot 
be expressed in terms of energy. We know only that there is 
no limit to the power of a word. 

"Johannes Huss und andre Ketzer brieten, 
Ihr Wort jedoch erklang von Ort zu Orte: 
Welch eine Tugend ist die Kunst der Worte." 

(Roughly: "John Huss and other heretics burned; yet their words 
resounded from place to place. Ah! the virtue lying in the art of 
words ! '* — Translator. ) 

Christ, Darwin, Luther, and Voltaire all knew the art of 
words, and they were to their time as a lightning flash setting 
in motion the accumulated stores of energy of an entire world. 
And the power of that one small word ''war," how it trans- 

1 Platen, prologue to the " Abassiden," 1829; lines 102-104. 


forms all Europe and forces all mankind to abandon their ac- 
customed ways for the sake of some new and unknown goal ! 
This we all felt, to our joy and sorrow, in the summer of 1914. 

"In the beginning was the word," always, and the word 
alone, for the power is always in the hands of the *'old," and 
the "new" at first never had any weapon save the word. 
But the word need only be left to itself, and as yet it has always 
come off victorious. And this conquest of the word which is 
carried away by the wind over all worldly power is, after all, 
merely what Kant meant by the autonomy of practical reason 
and the dignity of mankind. True, there is an essential dif- 
ference between the autonomy of practical reason and that of 
the brain, to which alone I referred above; for that "abso- 
lute autonomy" insisted upon by Kant cannot exist save as 
an idea pure and simple. The autonomy of the brain is like- 
wise limited, but it would be quite enough if we made full 
use of such autonomy as it has. 

In order to have finished with war, this freedom of the true 
natural scientist, the freedom of the thinking brain, would be 
quite sufficient ; and Frederick, in this respect really the Great, 
was quite right in saying, "If my soldiers began to think, 
not one would remain in the ranks." Unhappily, however, 
Schopenhauer also seems to have been right in saying that 
"Men are not thinking beings." 

Schopenhauer, however, was a pessimist, and to-day there 
is cause rather for optimism, for we now know at any rate 
one thing that Schopenhauer did not know for a fact: that 
even if men do not think, nevertheless their brains are capable 
of thinking. It is one of the most interesting facts which 
modern brain physiologists have taught us that the brains 
of animals and man contain more extensive capacities than any 
that have ever been evolved from them. As a matter of fact, 
the brain is more developed than the soul, which is, after all, 
only what is to be expected, for the instrument must first be 
there before any one can play upon it. A calculating-machine, 
for example, already contains within its iron framework the 


calculations 481 X 1617 = 777,777, and that 5621 X 13,857 
= 77,777,777, although neither may ever have been actually 
made. Similarly in every brain there are very many trains 
of thoughts ready waiting that have never yet been used. 
Nowhere is more striking proof of this afforded than in the 
works of that Russian man of genius, the physiologist Ivan P. 
Pawlow, works which open up an entirely fresh train of 
thought, into which, however, it would take too long to enter 
now. To make my meaning clear two examples will suffice. 
Animals, particularly monkeys, which are much with human 
beings can learn from them things which in themselves far 
transcend the limits of their intelligence; but this causes no 
modification of their brain, which consequently must already 
have been in a state to undertake these new functions. Again, 
the Japanese, who, if they had had to acquire Western civiliza- 
tion by their own exertions, certainly would not have done so 
under hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of years, have copied 
it from the Europeans in only a few years, just as they very 
quickly copied Chinese civilization. Moreover, as soon as 
either monkeys or Japanese have really adopted new habits, 
they adapt themselves to these perfectly. *'Missie" smokes 
her cigarette no less elegantly than any Tauentzien girl, 
and Soyen Shaku writes books on ethics, the arguments of 
which lead to conclusions precisely similar to those at which 
German ethical writers arrived independently.^ 

Many things even in the lives of nations may be explained 
by this fact of there being all manner of possibilities latent 
in the brain without man having the slightest inkling of them. 
This explains both the conservation which often drives us to 
despair by its persistent adherence to antiquated grooves, and 
likewise the suddenness with which a new order of things 
comes about the moment any one once succeeds in opening up 
these ''dead tracks" to traffic or in wresting a single sound 
from these ''slumbering bowstrings." 

What we know of brain physiology, therefore, justifies us 

1 Cf. § 194. 


in being optimistic. However noisy and self-assertive the 
impulses of hate may be, the social instincts, their opposites, 
our oldest inheritance, have long been lying dormant in our 
brain, although as yet they give out no sound. But one day 
they will be touched, and then their sound will drown that of 
all ghosts of the past, whether medieval or modern. That we 
have ''dead tracks'* in us, and that love is older than hate, it 
is the purpose of Part III of this book to prove. 

§ 28. — War as a Free Human Act 

As long, however, as the world does not know this, and does 
not believe that nature's organization, of which each person 
is a part, makes it as it were physically incumbent upon us 
to observe certain rules and mutual relations, so long might it 
be objected that just because man is free and not subject to 
natural force, he can make war because he chooses to do so ; 
and that as he always has chosen so in the past, he will con- 
tinue so to choose in the future, for ' * there always was and al- 
ways will be war." It is not worth while examining such 
arguments, for they could be equally well urged in defense of 
cannibalism or of the Stone Age. 

Now, war has indeed been called logosy ratio, or reason — not 
human reason, it is true, but, characteristically enough, only 
the reason or argument of kings. As Calderou ^ scornfully 
wrote, in war powder and shot are the last word of kings. 
But kings did not understand irony, and *' ultima ratio 
regum" was inscribed on the cannons of the Roi Soleil of 
Versailles, and aftei'ward upon those of Frederick the Great. 
In France the National Assembly, on August 17, 1791, erased 
these overbearing words; but in Prussia they still remain, 
although, strangely enough, only on field guns, intended for 
attack, and not on fortification guns, intended for defense, 
thus still further emphasizing the fact that cannon are not the 
argument of man, but merely that of kings. 

iCalderon: "Es esta vida todo e8 verdad y todo mentira" ("Every- 
thing in this life is truth and everything uutruth"). 


These words are not only engraved on the cannon for tra- 
dition's sake, but only a few months ago, Loofs,^ singularly 
enough a theologian, referred to them as a valuable maxim. 
Herr Loofs, who is probably a good monarchist, has no con- 
ception of what a disservice he is thus rendering to kings, for 
if war really does amount to *' the last argument of kings," 
then there would be all the more justification for the republi- 
cans making a fittjfing rejoinder. There is, however, a grain 
of truth in these words, and hence Kant insists on the neces- 
sity for a federation of **free republican states" if perpetual 
peace is to be maintained. 

We hear it repeated over and over again that we are bound 
in honor to go to war, and that *'it is a worthless nation which 
will not joyfully sacrifice everything for honor's sake." No 
doubt ; but the only question is whether honor can be retrieved 
by force of arms. A nation which can conceive of this being 
possible has no more genuine honor in it than a good pistol- 
shot who has made his notions of honor fit in with his sureness 
of aim. 

Does any one really believe that the distressingly deep 
feelings of hatred, fear, and contempt with which the majority 
of mankind at present regard Germany would not be greatly 
increased if the Germans were to succeed in imposing their 
rule upon still more non-German-speaking territories? It is 
moral conquests which we need to make, and if Germany were 
to win, and nevertheless to fulfil the elementary demands of 
humanity (which would, of course, then be more difficult), 
then she would have retrieved her honor. 

Does any one believe that at the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century Germany lost her honor because she succumbed 
before the Corsican's superior military methods? Or that 
Denmark or Belgium have lost their honor because of having 
had to yield to their stronger neighbor ? Again, was it in any 
sense an honor for Napoleon or William I to have conquered 

1 Friedrich Loofs, "Internationale Monatsschrift fUr I. Wissenschaft, 
Kunst, itnd Teobnik," 1015. Vol. IX, No. 1. 


those weaker than themselves? Let man once ask himself 
these questions impartially; there can be no doubt about the 
answer. A man's honor depends upon the good opinion of 
his fellow-men, a nation's honor upon the good opinion of 
other nations; and the time is past when this good opinion 
can be earned by the possession of a stronger biceps. 

Indispensable as war may seem regarded as an inherited 
notion, as a reasonable act, or as the duty of every man of 
honor, it cannot possibly be anything of the sort. For man 
indeed nothing can be allowed to be a necessity except what 
he himself, after free reflections, has recognized as a right. 
This is the meaning of the proud words *'Thou shalt/* which 
he, unfettered man, uses in contradistinction to fettered na- 
ture 's *^Thou must." 

No honor and no dignity could be defended by actions im- 
posed by necessity. Hence any one asserting the necessity 
of war, in so doing likens it to an animal act, and Fenelon ^ was 
right in saying that it is the disgrace of the human race that 
w^ar sometimes seems inevitable. 

1 "C'est la honte dii genre humain, que la guerre soit inevitable." 
1699. T616maque, Book XI. 


Selection by Means op War 

1. — selection and education 
§ 29. — Positive and Negative Selection 

"War, says Professor K. von Stengel/ is a touchstone of 
nations, for in war everything rotten is destroyed; and some 
pastor or ecclesiastic whose name I have forgotten even goes 
the length of asserting that war is God's great winnowing vane 
with which He separates the wheat from the chaff. In tliis 
or some similar fashion has the doctrine of selection being 
effected by the struggle for existence been thoughtlessly and 
blindly transferred by many persons to war between human 

Undoubtedly war does effect selection, but for that matter 
nothing in the world ever happens which does not to some 
extent do so. If a new stock-exchange law is promulgated, 
those persons perish, at all events as stock brokers, who can- 
not accommodate themselves to the new regulations; and if 
new riding rules are issued, the first riding prize will not be 
won by the same person as would have won it under the old 
rules, although this does not mean that any one will learn 
to ride better under the new rules. Similarly with regard to 
war. It must of course sift men, first of all sorting them 
into living and dead; but how do these so-called Darwinians 
know that it is the wheat which is left and the chaff which is 

1 K. von Stengel, "A World-wide State and the Problem of Peace," 
("Weltstaat und Friedensproblem"), p. lllf. [A highly combative 
character sent by Germany as technical delegate to the first Hague Con- 
ference. — Translator.] 



removed? Supposing it were the other way about? For in 
the case of all selective influences the point is whether the 
selection is positive or negative. It may have the effect of im- 
proving the race or of deteriorating it. 

Supposing every gazelle which neither sees nor hears the 
lion lying in wait for it, or, seeing him, is not able to escape 
quickly enough, were vanquished and killed, then after a time 
the only gazelles left would be those with sharp eyes, quick 
hearing, and agile limbs. They alone would breed, and thus 
the race would become clearer-sighted, quicker of hearing, and 

If, again, every tortoise with too thin a shell is vanquished 
and killed, then in time the only tortoises left will be those 
with the thickest shells. It matters comparatively little 
whether they have good eyes or ears, and as selection does 
not take effect here, their senses, supposing no other selective 
influences to intervene, would eventually become dulled; and 
owing to this negative selection we should have a race of 
clumsy, apathetic creatures, with dull senses. Both gazelles 
and tortoises, however, are admirably adapted to the peculiar 
circumstances and conditions in which their species must live. 

Similarly, if war were constantly man's chief occupation, 
he would assuredly gradually become altogether adapted for 
warfare. Fighting being what it is, however, it is not to be 
expected that a specially brave, vigorous, or intelligent race 
would arise, for, as we shall presently see, the effect of war 
is to exterminate all who come within these categories ; but 
owing to modern trench warfare it would be a kind of rabbit- 
like race that would come into existence. The new human 
being would accordingly have no reflned requirements, since 
in holes in the earth it would be impossible to satisfy these; 
he would have a defective sense of smell, if only in order to 
enable him to endure the stench of decomposing corpses : but 
he would be agile and nimble, and have good ears and eyes, 
so as to be able to run fast in and out of holes at the right mo- 
ment. He would also need his good eyes for taking aim, al- 


though, as experience teaches, in perpetual fighting the lust 
of slaughter decreases, and fondness for taking cover increases, 
owing to the simplicity and primitive nature of his occupa- 
tion he would have but slender intelligence; he would despise 
peaceful employments, because man is naturally inclined to 
think highly of his own occupation; he would care little for 
comfort, his chief ideas about which would be connected with 
eating and drinking ; and finally he would have a certain esprit 
de corps toward his comrades, but above all he would hate 
and fear his enemies. Such is the half idiotic troglodyte race 
which would result from permanent trench warfare. An ap- 
proximate analogy is afforded by the medieval mercenary, 
whose modem counterpart, however, would be only a very 
much reduced copy, owing to war having now become far 
more stupefying. 

§ SO.— The Trend of Selection 

No one either will or can deny what has just been said. 
But what might be urged is that all men of this martial 
rabbit-like type, such as is produced by war, would be healthy. 
Such a statement is very difficult to contradict, because it 
always is difficult to disprove such assertion as that the ex- 
ception does not prove the rule and that a little never does 
any harm. Telling a few lies (necessary lies), committing 
a little murder, a little conjugal infidelity,^ and an occasional 
failure to honor thy father and thy mother,^ — all this may be 

Now, if any one has any belief at all in its being possible 
by our own free will to influence human evolution, then any 
such inclination to experiment is reprehensible; for our de- 
sires, our endeavors, and our tendencies will one day be ac- 
complished facts for future generations. What to-day is 
merely hinted at will be an actual fact to-morrow. It is not 
so much what we are which really signifies as the direction 

iCf. Luther. 

2Cf. The famous order to shoot. 


in which we are tending; and this is why we must think out 
our thoughts clearly to the end. What we must ask our- 
selves, therefore, is this. Do we mean through our institu- 
tions to try to cause the vital struggle for existence to tend 
to make man better or worse fitted for the complex conditions 
of war? 

Before answering this question we must clearly realize that 
every war which a nation wages not merely makes it tempo- 
rarily **a trifle'' more warlike, but irrevocably gives it a for- 
ward push in the direction of what is warlike in general. 
Thus whoever inflames or even approves the warlike sense of 
his own people must be prepared for that last state that all 
warlike peoples have lived to see and will live to see. Con- 
versely, every time war is averted, humanity tends to become 
more inclined toward peace ; and whoever endeavors to avert 
a war is likewise bound to take into consideration a last 
state which would probably be a state in which men would be 
unfitted for war. 

Any one attempting to reason this out logically and ration- 
ally must make up his mind whether his aim is to train men 
more and more to be soldiers or to be peaceful citizens, and 
whether he hopes in the future, perhaps a still distant future, 
that there will be peace or war. By our present actions our 
race is being prepared for its future state, and I believe that, 
had we always been awarp of the effects of our resolves, we 
might have realized far more clearly whither our pacific and 
our national aspirations were leading us. The belief pre- 
vailed, however, that it was possible to take side leaps. Just 
as a man could occasionally get drunk without being afraid of 
becoming a drunkard, so it was believed that men in gen- 
eral could occasionally wage war without becoming warriors: 
and some people even went the length of saying that there 
must be something wrong with a man who had never got drunk 
or been to war. Those who argue thus forget that, although 
a person certainly can take side leaps without serious conse- 
quences resulting, this is impossible for a race, unless what 


is called negative selection is to set in, which of course for the 
person does not signify. 

This can easily be proved. It is an ordinary commonplace 
that man owes his position in the world to-day solely to the 
evolution of his brain. I need do no more than recall what 
has already been explained in Chapter II (Part 4) dealing 
with freedom and natural selection; namely, that this condi- 
tion of evolution already prevailed when the forest-dwelling 
savage made himself his first tool, and thus paved the way for 
the development of his brain. Since then mankind has con- 
tinued along the broad way leading to ever-increasing libera- 
tion of the brain ; and in my view with this path of progress 
we may rest content. Discontent, moreover, would be useless, 
for we must continue in it. That is the terrible greatness of 
nature, that she knows no turning back. Implacable neces- 
sity will have it that what has once been begun must be gone 
on with to the end. As in the legend of Orpheus, a legend 
which in some form or other is common to almost all nations, 
it would be death to look back. However much the savage 
greatness of the Renaissance may attract us, however grand 
the heroic combats before Troy may seem, however keen may 
be the longing for our primeval home aroused in us by delight 
in the innocent enjoyments of the savage or even of the animal, 
all these delights are irrecoverably lost to us. "We must learn 
to take pleasure in a new kind of beauty, for in nature there is 
no going back, but only going forward. 

Now, nature, when she advances thus in one direction only, 
owing to the influence of selection, is absolutely prevented 
from ever making any experiments. This at first sight seems 
strange, for has not nature always been experimenting? Did 
she not at first produce many round and many-cornered ani- 
mals, until it became evident that the bilateral, symmetrical 
formation was the best? Did she not make experiments with 
aquatic, aerial, and terrestrial animals, until the terrestrial 
creatures gained the upper hand? Did she not produce six- 
footed insects, eight-footed spiders, ten-footed crabs, and 



many-footed millipeds before she arrived at the practical 
quadruped? All these and many more instances may cer- 
tainly be justly cited, but on closer inspection we see that 
nature's way was not our way. 

For example, if we wish to learn to fly, we get wings, as was 
always done throughout the Middle Ages ; and if this does not 
answer, then they are laid aside, and a balloon is procured, 
as was done by Montgolfier in 1783. After man had tor- 
mented himself therewith for a while, and realized that it is 
possible to steer such a construction only to a limited extent, 
as Krebs and Renard discovered in 1884, the balloon is also 
put away in its shed, and the almost forgotten wings are 
brought out again. This time, however, they are put to quite 
another purpose ; that is, they are spread out as slides, as was 
done by Le Briez, and more particularly by Otto Lilienthal 
in 1890, And so matters go on, some trying to derive the 
necessary force from steam-engines, as, for instance. Sir Hiram 
Maxim did in 1893, or from accumulators, as did Krebs and 
Renard in 1884, only to find that they did not answer : while 
others tried the benzoin motor, as did the brothers Wright 
in 1903, finding this answer. And ultimately, after many 
experiments, we shall have a serviceable flying-machine. 

It is easy to see that the possibility of experimenting in the 
human sense of the word depends upon the possession of 
detachable organs. Nature, however, has no detachable or- 
gans, and is therefore compelled to experiment in some other 
way. When the animal world made a conquest of the air, 
various kinds of preliminary attempts were made. Some crea- 
tures, such as squirrels, grew bushy tails, thickly covered with 
hair, so that they might fall more slowly and be able to take 
longer jumps: in the case of others the skin between leg and 
arm became extended out so as to form a fulcrum, as in the 
case of the Sciuropterce; in a third case — that of bats — a skin 
grew and became stretched between the fingers, which had be- 
come very long ; and finally in a fourth case — ^that of birds — 
feathers grew. 


Although of these four methods only the last, feathers, has 
proved satisfactory, yet the other creatures cannot now ex- 
change their imperfect equipment for feathers. They must 
proceed along the way on which they once set out, whether it 
lead backward or forward. There is no turning back for 
them ; and so it is with everything. Should an animal be spe- 
cially well adapted to night life, to tropics, or to mountains, 
then from henceforth it must permanently live in the night, 
in the tropics, or in the mountains, and the only way in which 
it can possibly attain greater perfection is to become al- 
together exceptionally well suited to its special surroundings. 

Thus is the evolution of organisms restricted, and the evo- 
lution of man would be restricted in just the same way were 
not his brain free, so that he can change his organs at will. 

§ 31. — Wise and Foolish 

It may therefore be considered an established fact that hu- 
man evolution proper depends upon the evolution of our 
brain,^ indeed amounts to the same thing. For man, conse- 
quently, many limitations imposed on animals do not exist. 
Man can develop freely in every respect, but — and this is the 
one limitation — if mankind is to progress, the development of 
the brain must he promoted. Or, in other words, every vic- 
tory of the wise over the foolish means a step forward, and 
is a sign of positive selection; every victory of the foolish 
over the wise is a step backward, a sign of negative selection. 

Now, it is a universal fact that wherever force decides, 

1 It is, of course, hardly necessary to say that our brain cannot be 
thus developed unless the body be likewise developed at the same time. 
Of the important facts connected with this, the most essential have 
been cited in what has been said concerning freedom and natural com- 
pulsion. Suffice it here to remark that the brain owes much to the 
hand, and due note should be taken of the fact that everything which 
refines the hand is promoting human evolution, whereas everything 
which coarsens it has, to say the least, nothing to do with evolution. 
Any one who has really understood these condensed reflections will per- 
ceive no inconsistency in the fact that the laborer's callous fist is often 
superior to the manicured hand of a dandy. 



whether it be the brute force of cannon or the no less great 
force of intolerance, it is a hindrance to wisdom; in other 
words, to positive selection based on intellectual superiority. 
Every decision by means of force is therefore to be rejected. 

Du bist im rubmgekronten Morden 
Das erste Land der Welt geworden ! ^ 

This is the one assertion which can be made with some show 
of justification after a victorious war. No further inference 
must be drawn, however. There is certainly nothing impos- 
sible in those who are foremost in the art of killing likewise 
attaining distinction in the arts of civilization: such a com- 
bination of qualities is not unthinkable, albeit highly improb- 
able. Probably no one has expounded this with so much 
detail and logic as Steinmetz.^ According to him, victory 
is attained not by one virtue alone, but by a number of virtues 
together. As such he instances fidelity, sense of solidarity, en- 
durance, conscientiousness, education, inventiveness, thrift, 
wealth, and physical health and strength.^ 

Now, this motley collection of the most heterogeneous con- 
ceptions is almost a classical instance of — ^pardon the word, 
but it is not too strong — the absurdity of the argument of 
these victory enthusiasts, who never inquire whether victory 
promotes virtue, but simply call everything a virtue which 
conduces to victory. In reality all the qualities just enumer- 
ated are by no means virtues in themselves, but may be either 
virtues or vices according to their motive. It is possible to be 
faithful to something good or to something bad, just as we may 
have a fellow feeling for what is good or for what is bad, and 
so on. Thus all these virtues of Steinmetz^s are virtues only 

iGeorg Herwegh, "Germania," 187L [The first country in the world 
hast thou risen to be, but wearing blood-stained laurels.] 

2 Dr. S. R. Steinmetz, "Philosophic des Krieges" (The Philosophy of 
War). 1907; Bath, Leipsic. 

8 In the ensuing pages I shall refer several times more in detail to 
the question of whether there is any such connection between the virtues 
of peace and those of war. 


so long as we consider war and its effects good. If we cease 
so to consider them, then they become vices; for, as already 
said, the conservative fidelity wherewith mankind clings to 
its ancient instinct for war has now ceased to be a good thing, 
and the way small groups of persons hold together, thereby im- 
peding the solidarity of mankind, ought to be blamed, not 
praised. It is worthy of note that no mention should be made 
of virtues such as love and truthfulness. 

Each one of these 'Virtues'' will be estimated quite dif- 
ferently by every person, according to his party. That a 
victory is due to fidelity or conscientiousness will never be 
admitted by the vanquished. Why even now, whenever the 
German war reports are forced to admit some success of the 
enemy, they attribute it to asphyxiatiQg bombs or some other 
act of treachery and unscrupulousness. 

That thrift should promote victory might also seem surpris- 
ing; at this time victory is supposed mainly to depend upon 
who can squander most money in shells. Steinmetz, however, 
is not referring at all to thrift in war-time, but to thrift in 
peace-time, and herein most people will readily agree with him. 
It is hard to see, however, why it should be a virtue to spend 
little on education, this being the only respect in which a 
martial state can economize. This particular philosopher, 
moreover, also differs from his fellows in considering wealth 
also as a virtue! War and capitalism the modern virtues! 
Herr Steinmetz is, at any rate, logical.^ 

Strangely enough, Herr Steinmetz makes no mention of 
courage, which, in fact, is now no longer a warlike virtue. 
The courageous, energetic lieutenants did harm rather than 
good in the early days of the war, and matters did not mend 

1 Concerning education and inventiveness, health and strength, and 
also the feeling of solidarity I shall have more to say hereafter. As re- 
gards education Cf. §108-111 on patriotism and civilization; § 119-122 
on tl)e contrast between civilization and jingoism; and § 134-138 on 
German humanity and German militarism. Concerning inventiveness 
Cf. 68-70 about the tendency of war always to be behind the times. 
Concerning health cf. § 35-39, "On the Alleged Tonic Eflfects of War." 



until the reserve lieutenant gained control. An indirect con- 
firmation of the worthlessness of courage is afforded also by 
those who, in the excess of their enthusiasm, say that nowa- 
days there are no longer any privileged heroes, but that every 
one is a hero. Any one acquainted with human nature and 
knowing how rare is real bravery will also know what this 
means. Just as the individual leader is swallowed up in 
the general staff organization, so the individual hero is swal- 
lowed up in the trenches. There was a time when courage was 
a warlike virtue. 

If there is still a martial virtue, then it is a gift for 
organization. Railways must work and movements of troops 
proceed without a hitch; shells must be provided, and like- 
wise food for hundreds and thousands of men. No one is read- 
ier than I am to admit how well all this mechanism works, 
especially in Germany, and to marvel thereat. In the capac- 
ity to prepare for and carry out any action with this perfection 
there is something which fills us with the most joyful confi- 
dence. We have already reached the stage of being able to 
organize men by the millions. But here again a gift of 
organization in itself is not a virtue, but merely appears to be 
one, and becomes one only because of the motives for which a 
man organizes. 

This war has shown that we can organize. We organized 
for war and for the destruction of others. This may please 
those who consider there is virtue in destruction, but those 
who see virtue in construction will insist on this proved gift 
for organization being used for constructive purposes. Should 
the war ultimately succeed in bringing this about, as I be- 
lieve it will, and as I would do everything in my power to 
insure its doing, then and only then would this last European 
War mean the painful winding up of a bygone period and 
the promise-laden beginning of a new future. 

We always come back to the same point. Those who begin 
by assuming that war and warlike qualities are good will think 
that war breeds qualities which are warlike and therefore, in 


their opinion, good; but those who dispassionately inquire 
what are virtue and happiness and what is man's purpose 
here below, and then, having once answered these questions, 
proceed to ask whether one of them is promoted by war, must 
unhesitatingly admit that war, particularly war under mod- 
ern conditions, no longer promotes any positive virtue which 
has anything whatever to do with civilization. 

I might still be able to imagine a civilized fighting man 
of Frederick the Great's or Napoleon's time, even so late as 
1870, but not now, for the extreme subdivision of labor in all 
departments of human activity has gradually caused civiliza- 
tion and the art of war to adopt such absolutely dissimilar 
forms that any connection between the two seems no longer 

But what is both singular and disgraceful is that formerly, 
when this might perhaps still have been admissible, no civilized 
human being even thought of going to fight, and that only 
now, when the gulf between war and civilization has widened 
to the uttermost, has universal service been introduced, which 
needlessly exposes the most highly differentiated human beings 
to the same risks as mercenaries naturally predestined for 
war's handiwork. This is like attempting to construct a hu- 
man skeleton out of brain-cells. There could be only one re- 
sult: the brain-cells would be completely crushed, and the 
bone-cells would alone remain. Such is the kind of choice 
which will be made by modem warfare. Men of brain perish, 
men of bone remain, which is also a form of selection, but 
not one tending toward that kind of evolution which pro- 
motes the development of the brain, quite apart from any 
personal predilection, but from general consideration of hu- 

In principle, therefore, it may be said that wherever force 
and intolerance decide, there is no positive selection tending 
to promote human evolution, for here not the wise man, but 
the strong man, has the upper hand. But where justice pre- 
vails, there the wise man, not the strong man, rules, talent, 


and not brute force ; and consequently positive selection takes 
place, tending toward human evolution. 

Now we understand what every human means more or less 
clearly by an ** inborn natural human right." Even an 
action which runs counter to the letter of the law seems to us, 
nevertheless, justified *'if it forwards the general deed of 
man, ' ' ^ for right is right only if it exercises positive select' 
assists talent, and furthers civilization. 

§ 32. — The Effect of War on the Development of Intelligence 

Now, it is true that in general beasts of prey are considered 
more intelligent than beasts preyed upon. Even the people 
have got into the way of thinking it a greater compliment to 
any one's intelligence to call him a dog or a cat than a sheep 
or an ox. This also explains why lions, leopards, eagles, 
griflSns, and other creatures able to put up a fight ranked above 
the rest and were chosen for coats of arms.^ The elephant of 
Siam, the llama of Peru, and the peacock of Burma are foreign 
exceptions. In general, however, this popular belief that 
predatory creatures are more intelligent is correct. The ex- 
planation is that prowling after prey requires more intelli- 
gence than running away. Now, although predatory habits 

1 Robert Browning, "By the Fireside." (This the author translates 
by "toewn sie die allgemeine Idee der Menschheit fordert," doubtless cor- 
rectly. — Translator. ) 

2 An examination of European coats of arms, national and provincial, 
gives the following approximate result: eagles occur thirty times; 
bulls five; leopards, griffins, and horses each three times. Thus ani- 
mals have been selected about seventy times obviously on account of 
their nature appearing to be martial or fitted for war. True, the mar- 
ten of Slavonia, the sable of Siberia, and the raven of Galicia are also 
predatory creatures, but were evidently chosen for other and purely 
local reasons. Similarly, the Icelandic stockfish, the he goat of the 
Faroe Islands, the Istrian goat, and the Schaffliausen ram must not 
lead us to make any inferences as to peaceful tendencies, for here again 
local causes determined their choice. These heraldic creatures must be 
the only instances of "peaceful coats of arms" that Europe can show bo 
far as animals are concerned. On the other hand, in America and Asia 
peaceful animals occur fairly frequently, although, it is true, generally 
because of their representing some product of the country concerned. 


are sometimes essentially different from man's martial ways, 
yet it might be thought that outwardly similar habits of 
life might produce similar effects. 

This, however, is not the case, for we find exceptions even 
among animals. The very cleverest animals, monkeys and 
elephants, are not predatory. How is this? So long as the 
procuring of food is a creature's sole occupation, a beast of 
prey must of course be more intelligent, it being more difficult 
and requiring more attention and dexterity to track down a 
mobile animal than to eat a motionless plant, which in turn 
demands more intelligence than the plant needs, since it finds 
its means of sustenance in earth, air, and water, and every- 
where, without ever needing to look for it. 

Thus we note here three stages. First, the plant, which 
requires and has so little intelligence that this is not even 
perceptible; secondly, the vegetable-feeder; and, thirdly, the 
beast of prey. This scale, however, applies only so long as the 
sole concern of an organism is eating ; in other words, its own 
self. But directly it acquires interests in other things and 
particularly in other creatures, it can educate itself by means 
of its new interests, and a predatory creature ceases to be nec- 
essarily any more intelligent than its prey. 

These new and no longer purely selfish interests make even 
higher demands on a creature's intelligence than the old 
predatory instincts. For instance, when the cock himself 
no longer eats up everything he finds, but' also sees that the 
hens get enough, since they have more need of food than he 
as they have to produce the eggs, this is a social instinct. The 
bird or animal itself need not be aware of the possession of 
such an instinct, but in order to transmute it into action, it 
must possess certain higher intellectual qualities. Above all, 
the individual creature must be able to express what he wants. 
That is, he must have some sort of means of communication 
(speech), and he must respect the wishes of others, and there- 
fore he must know in what they consist. Speech, understand- 
ing, and capacity for learning are now the factors which are 


gradually being more and more developed. They it is which 
form the intellect, and in comparison with them the distinction 
between predatory and preyed upon sinks into insignificance. 
Hence it is that after a certain period the social animals, such 
as monkeys, beavers, elephants, wolves, etc., no matter whether 
they hunt or are hunted, attain a higher degree of intelli- 
gence than predatory animals did formerly ; and the degree of 
this intelligence is in the main in proportion to the extent to 
which they are associated together.^ 

Monkeys, in particular, have an extraordinary faculty for 
learning and imitation; they understand language well, and 
have even an obviously not fully developed language of their 
own, to investigate which attempts, not wholly successful, have 
been made of recent years. 

Whether social animals are predatory or preyed upon has 
nothing whatever to do with their intelligence. On the con- 
trary, the influence of predatory instincts tends rather to 
retard the development of social instincts, and consequently 
of the intelligence. Predatory instincts, therefore, after a 
certain stage, must have injurious effects, because the slight 
increase in intelligence due to them can no longer compensate 
for the inevitable disadvantages resulting from any obstruc- 
tion of social progress. 

As regards mankind, all this is beyond possibility of doubt. 
Observations made upon Malays and Indians have proved 
that predatory and hunting tribes have not even keener senses 
(better eyes, ears, and noses, etc) as was long believed; while 
they are assuredly not more intelligent. In fact, civilization 
has always been diffused by the settled, non-warlike peoples. 

Of all the nations known to us the Greeks were the civilized 
nation par excellence; and although, when necessity arose — 
that is, when their civilization was menaced — they fought 
most valiantly, nevertheless they were not at all warlike, at 
any rate much less so than the nations with whom they fought 

1 Concerning the apparent exception in the case of the higher monkeys 
cf. § 11. 


and whom they also conquered, an important point. For that 
matter, peaceful nations, being more intelligent, frequently 
have overcome warlike nations. 

Of the Greeks themselves the Spartans and, later on, the 
Macedonians were the most warlike, but at the same time the 
least highly civilized. Conversely, the Romans were a nation 
of warriors, but they did little for civilization. We can ob- 
serve a similar state of things everywhere, and there is prob- 
ably hardly a better instance of it than the German nation. 
In Tacitus 's time it was warlike and barbaric, but gradually, 
alarmed by too many wars, it became peaceful, and at the 
same time its civilization began to arouse the admiration of 
the world. But again a reaction set in, and not content with 
the blessings of peace, we lusted after war and national great- 
ness. Simultaneously, the finest flower of our national civiliza- 
tion began to droop. After all, however much Moltke and 
Bemhardi, Rontgen and Emil Fischer, Gerardt Hauptmann 
and Avenarius, may be worth, Hardenberg and Stein, Helm- 
holtz and Liebig, Goethe and Kant, were worth more, or at all 
events they were different — in order to avoid any disparaging 
opinions, which may be merely personal.^ 

These men had a freedom and delicacy of thought all their 
own. Their ideas were the ideas of genius, and they left their 
imprint on the whole world. All our industrious workers — 

iThis contrast, however, is not in any way intended to be disparag- 
ing. I have said elsewhere how high an opinion I have, for instance, 
of Emil Fischer. Bismarck is intentionally omitted, but the very fact 
of many persons considering this great material politician as abso- 
lutely the modern German ideal of a man is perhaps the strongest con- 
firmation of the truth of what I have said. [Dr. Nicolai doubtless 
here means the German philosopher Avenarius, who died in 1896, and 
not the contemporary poet and writer on art. Hardenberg is of course 
Karl August Fiirst von Hardenberg (1750-1822), the Prussian states- 
man, who succeeded Stein as chancellor of state, continuing his policy 
of internal reforms. He did a great deal for Prussia by abolishing 
trade privileges, sweeping away serfdom, and in developing education. 
Heinrich Friedrich Karl, Baron vom Stein, 1757-1831, was also a 
strongly liberalizing Prussian statesman. — ^Translator.] 


they might almost be called technicians — of to-day cannot at- 
tain thereto. 

§ 33.— r/te Futility of Wars to-day 

In olden times there may have been some truth in the say- 
ing that war meant the survival of the fittest. First, from 
natural causes the individual tribes, cities, or states were very 
much the same size, for a country's sovereign rights extended 
as the means of communication developed, and these were 
probably everywhere much about the same. If two of these 
tribes, cities, or states had a warlike encounter, the probability 
therefore from the outset was that quality, not quantity or 
numbers, would decide matters; that is, that the fitter of the 
two would win. Now, the conqueror would kill out all the kins- 
men of the conquered, — that is, be it noted, not merely the 
select few sent to fight, but also the rest who had stayed at 
home, — kill them out to the last man or else lead them away 
into captivity. As for the enemies' women, they were either 
killed or violated, and thus a *' breed of conquerors" arose. 
This particular kind of fight caused by or, at any rate, ending 
in, a rape of women, was even to some extent a biological ne- 
cessity, in order to avoid the mischievous consequences of in- 
breeding, to which human beings dwelling in small tribes must 
otherwise have been exposed. 

In point of fact the result of these barbarous, but thoroughly 
appropriate, methods of warfare was to rule the physically in- 
ferior out of count ; and even if it might be questioned whether 
this form of selection answered well or not, and whether other 
methods would not have worked better, at all events, war did 
not then mean negative selection. Now, however, the selec- 
tion has become negative, and modern laws of war most clev- 
erly prevent war from being of any biological value what- 
ever. The effect of universal service in particular is to injure 
just the very fittest. 

In Germany there live some thirty-three million men, half of 


whom are too young or too old to take the field. Of the other 
sixteen million half again are rejected because of some physical 
or mental inferiority. There remain, therefore, about eight 
million who are vigorous, healthy, and intelligent enough to 
be allowed to take the field. Children and old men are pro- 
tected by government ; but besides them the blind, deaf, and 
dumb, idiots, hunchbacks, scrofulous and impotent persons, 
imbeciles, paralytics, epileptics, dwarfs, and abortions — all 
this human riffraff and dross, need have no anxiety, for no 
bullets will come hissing against them, and they can stay at 
home and dress their ulcers while the brave, strong young men 
are rotting on the battle-field.^ 

The morally inferior are also kept alive. To begin with, 
all convicts, as a matter of principle, and also all cowards, for 
in the long run no surgeon-major, however energetic, can do 
anything to prevent shirking, so systematically is it carried 
out, and to such a pitch of refinement is it brought. If shirk- 
ers are called up at all, they are sent where there is no danger, 
as sappers, clerks, or ambulance men behind the front, or else 
they hang about the military hospitals ; but most of them are 
rejected for good and all. 

For them, therefore, war amounts to insuring their lives; 
and this * ' regiment of cripples, ' ' who in the open competition 
of peace could hardly hold their own against its more capable 
competitors, are now getting the best posts, and are highly 
paid. The effect of this cannot be overestimated. It may be 
assumed that in such a never-ending war as this fully twenty- 
five per cent, of the healthy half of the population ^ — that is, 
about two millions — will either die or be seriously incapaci- 
tated cripples. As the latter, about one million, must now be 
classed with the unfit, these alone will number about thirty 
per cent, more than the fit. 

1 "1st der Krieg ein wissenschaftliches Gesetz?" ("Is War a Scientific 
Law?") by Charles Richet, in the "Monistisches Jahrhimdert" for 1912. 
No. VI, Vol. 2. 

2 That is, of Germany. These words were written in 1915. — ^Trans- 


But what is perhaps still worse is that the unfit, stay-at- 
home half of the population should be reaping exceptionally- 
great and permanent benefits from the war. The stay-at- 
home lawyer or doctor is, of course, not necessarily inferior, 
but even should he be so, he naturally gets the practice of his 
abler competitor who has had to go, just as the stay-at-home 
commercial man gets the customers of his perhaps biologically 
superior competitor at the front. Thus the thoroughly healthy 
portion of the population, even supposing they come back 
from the war with unbroken bones, are often injured, per- 
haps irreparably, in their business or profession. True, they 
continue to live, but as far as the general public is concerned 
they might as well be dead, since their former fields of labor 
and activity are now no longer open to them. Moreover, 
they will now be compelled to provide for the support of the 
war cripples, war orphans, and war widows. It is estimated 
that we shall have to spend 1,500,000,000 marks ($375,000,000) 
annually for this, to which must be added no less a sum for 
interest on war loans. Consequently the healthy worker in 
future will have to give up about two hundred marks (fifty 
doUars) of his income annually to the Government for this 
purpose.^ The biological injury thus inflicted upon the popu- 
lation in general cannot be expressed in figures ; but one thing 
must never be forgotten, and that is that all this * ' curbed in- 
telligence'' can hardly fail to become anything but discon- 
tented elements, which, again, can scarcely be for the good of 
the community in general. 

And, again, even among soldiers death the reaper cannot 
reap quite as he chooses, for naturally even at the front the 
brave, capable fellows are given harder and therefore more 
dangerous tasks, and consequently are more decimated. There 
was a time when their greater ability might have availed to 
protect them somewhat against dangers, but hardly nowadays, 
for bullets are no respecters of persons. In short, were the 

1 1 should again remind the reader that this is only a 1915 estimate. 
— ^Translator. 


war to last long enough, it must infallibly result in a belliger- 
ent people consisting solely of inferior elements, with the pos- 
sible exception of a handful of commanders-in-chief, who are 
usually less exposed to the dangers of war than other men.^ 

Yet another point. It is the stay-at-homes, the idiotic and 
sickly "indigenous race," which are producing the generation 
to come, and this in particular is almost universally the case 
with a nation whose soldiers are in the enemy's country, and 
who therefore appear predestined to conquer, whereas in the 
case of a nation who have the enemy within their borders, a 
good many, at any rate, owe their being to the fittest elements 
in the race, those capable of ' * taking the ^el^. ' ' ^ 

§ 34. — What a War of Extermination Means 

Thus to-day the original conception of war is distorted until 
it has become completely reversed, simply because there is 
no longer anything natural about war; it is now merely a 
romantic reminiscence. Now, it might be, and has been said, 
that the benefits of war come afterward. It might be thought, 
however, that any one thus contemplating the remote effects 
of war ought seriously to reflect upon its inevitable results. 
That is, he ought to think out his ideas to their logical con- 
clusions, which seems easy, but is often very difficult. 

The idea of war as a factor likely to favor the selection of 
the fittest, and thus promote human evolution, is simple 
enough. War is here looked upon as representing that re- 
lentless, or rather that disinterested, justice which allows the 
fit to survive and destroys the unfit. Those who consider this 
right should act accordingly, and proceed to draw up rules 
accordingly. They ought to adopt the usages of war of which 
we read in ancient history, rules by which old men were killed 
and also unborn children, but not the seemingly humane ( ! ) 
rules of modern times — rules which make war a farce in the 

1 Thus, for instance, despite the enormous losses of this war, the 
numerous royal families liave lost very few indeed of their members. 
-' Cf. the statistics in § 38. 


sense in which a natural scientist uses the word ; that is to say, 
cause it to promote negative selection, and thus convert it into 
a means of deterioration. 

The gulf which apparently separates the selfish human be- 
ing of to-day from the humane promoter of civilization is 
merely apparent ; and here I would recall what I have already 
said about struggle between animals and struggle between man 
and man. Both are justifiable in themselves and both can be 
carried on logically. Difficulties do not arise until we begin to 
imagine that it is allowable to carry on an animal struggle 
against human beings and by human methods. This is sense- 
less, and therefore criminal; for war as w^aged at present 
can be considered only a justifiable form of struggle for exist- 
ence if the nations against whom we are waging war are not 
looked upon as human beings, at any rate not as human beings 
on a level with ourselves ; that is, if it is desired to carry on a 
war of extermination against barbarians so as to enable true 
humanity to find room upon and spread over the earth. No 
European will feel that he is justified in considering another 
European as a barbarian. The utmost which might be asked is 
whether we are not entitled to consider ourselves a superior 
race in comparison with certain undeveloped races, such as the 
Andamans or Tierra del Fuegans. What will undoubtedly 
occur is that these people will gradually be exterminated by 
the white race, though it has long been clear that it would be 
extremely foolish to make war upon them. They die out of 
themselves wherever they come in contact with whites, blood- 
less warfare being always more effectual than bloody. 

There is only one race for which this question of racial su- 
periority might be profoundly important — ^the Mongolian. I 
do not know who are the superior, the Mongolians or we our- 
selves, but I can quite understand our looking on the Mon- 
golian race as enemies, and that, for instance, Europeans on 
the highest plane would not easily be induced to have a child 
by a Mongolian woman, at any rate not to own it. I can there- 
fore also fully understand that we or the Mongolians might 


say, ' ' Only one of us two races can rule over the world, and 
we want that race to be ours. ' ' 

In this case the biologically weaker race — that is, the one 
which may rest assured that in ordinary course it would fall 
a victim to natural selection — might perhaps be justified in 
saying, ' ' As there is no chance of our getting the upper hand 
by natural and lawful means, we will try to take by force 
w^hat nature withholds from us." This shows very plainly 
that for the really strong war is superfluous ; and as obviously 
it is generally folly for the weak, it is self-evident that, save 
in the rarest instances, there can be no possible object what- 
ever in it. 

Now, it is possible that one such rare instance may be af- 
forded by the Mongolians, for, unlike all the other colored 
races, they seem to be in certain respects fitter than Europeans, 
although it is impossible to know exactly how they will be af- 
fected when once they are drawn into the vortex of modem 
civilization. Meantime, however, the sons of Heaven have the 
enormous advantage of being able to work equally well under 
all heavens, whether in the icy wastes of the tundras or under 
the burning sun of Sumatra. Apparently this is a special 
Mongolian peculiarity, for even primitive Teutonic peoples 
simply melted away under the Southern sun to which their im- 
pulse led them, and negro races get consumption if transferred 
to colder climates. 

If all this is really the case, then the greater part of the 
habitable world belongs to the Mongols, and likewise the over- 
lordship thereof ; for it seems out of the question, seeing how 
much going to and fro there already is and how much more 
there is certain to be in the near future, that two races should 
live side by side and yet apart. They will mix, and one will 
prevail over the other. 

But perhaps even the most humane of us all would not de- 
sire this, and therefore I can imagine our pointing with par- 
donable pride to our civilization, and saying that we are ready 
to take up arms in defense of it. You Mongols may be better 


than we are, we would say, but you are different. We do not 
want to know anything about your civilization, even suppos- 
ing it to be superior; we mean to keep our own. From this 
point of view I can imagine a war, but then it must be really 
a relentless, merciless war. 

There are now in the world five hundred millions of us 
Europeans or white men originally from Europe, and a thou- 
sand millions of various colored races. I believe we have even 
now the technical means at our disposal for exterminating 
these thousand millions in the course of the next twenty years. 
After twenty years, however, we shall no longer be in a 
position to do this, as soon, that is, as China has armed her 
whole population, constructs her own dreadnoughts, and manu- 
factures her own cannon and shells, as Japan is already do- 

In the ensuing twenty years, therefore, it is possible that 
the fate of the world will be decided once and for all, and 
the responsibility for this decision rests with the five hundred 
millions of Europeans. The ^Mongolians need do nothing but 
wait, for time and space are on their side. 

At a time when the fate of so many men is hanging in the 
balance, Europeans may, perhaps must, be asked whether on 
careful consideration they mean to declare all colored races 
barbarians, and then begin a struggle for existence, in other 
words a war of extermination, and not a ridiculous war for 
power, against everything non-European. When once so ter- 
rible a conception as that of such a war is grasped, then, if 
anything save senseless cruelty is to be the result, it also must 
be thought out to the end, and there would have to be a war 
mns treve et sans reldche. 

We must not spare even the child in its mother 's womb, and 
must tolerate no bastards. Such a war would be ghastly, but 
there would be some object in it. It is useless to talk of the 
justice of a war, but in a sense this ghastliest of wars is the 
justest because, at any rate, * * it serves its own particular pur- 


To me it seems at least conceivable that some such war 
might succeed, although I certainly do not believe this. His- 
tory, indeed, proves over and over that the despair of nations 
jBghting for their lives gives rise to strength which enables 
them to triumph over all technical expedients. Here, again, 
any attempt to interfere with the justice of history by such 
brutal methods might only too easily hasten the downfall of 
Europe. European nations, as I think, would do better to 
concentrate all their economic, technical, and scientific re- 
sources on increasing their internal vital energy, that is, on 
promoting race hygiene in every respect, and thus endeavor to 
become the equals and even the superiors of the Mongols. 

This opens up vistas of victories not purchased with blood — 
victories which I am profoundly convinced are within the 
bounds of possibility. This inextinguishable hope is due to 
my proud European racial instinct. I will not, and I refuse 
to, admit that the Mongols have in the long run greater vital- 
ity than I. I trust that the majority of Europeans think as 
I do, and that never shall we show the Asiatics such a sign of 
weakness as to draw the sword against them. Even if the 
European nations were faint-hearted, even if they were doubt- 
ful of ultimate peaceful victory, and if nothing seemed to 
stand in the way of their extermination by force, even then I 
would shrink from resort to force, and I am convinced that 
the majority of mankind agree with me. 

Every one, however, must compound with his own con- 
science, and should any one be anxious to proceed to victory 
by way of force, I will go a step further to please him. I feel 
that all Europeans belong to the same race, and I am proud 
of this. But others certainly feel this less keenly than I do, 
and they let their wholesome race instinct run to waste in all 
manner of fantastic and useless notions, such as the supposed 
existence of a Teutonic race.^ 

But there are those who believe in the Teutons, Germans, 
or Prussians having a right to predominate. I shall not here 

iQt §§ 99-105, about race patriotism, 


discuss the justification for such ideas, but those who would 
fain lead such small aggregates of human beings to victory 
must at any rate ask themselves whether they are able and, 
if able, also willing, to fight out this fight in the only way in 
which it can answer its purpose. 

As for Teutonism, the question is as follows: take the one 
hundred million Germans or, properly speaking, the twenty 
millions more or less pure Teutons living in various parts of 
Europe, most of whom will have nothing whatever to do with 
the conception of Teutonism. Do they believe that they can 
with any prospect of success embark upon a struggle against 
forces from fifteen to a hundred times more numerous, and 
do they really mean to destroy these ? If they have made up 
their minds to this, then let them make the attempt, and they 
will be fighting for an idea, and for an object which is at 
least conceivable. 

We are therefore faced with the following alternative : we 
must either resolve to live in peace with the French, Russians, 
English, and whatever all their names may be, or we must 
wage a war of extermination upon them, a war whose purpose 
it is not to leave one of them alive. 

Whoever, therefore, decides for war is, at any rate, no fool, 
and has logic on his side. Nevertheless, I hope and believe 
that even those who most delight in war will incline toward 
peace when once they realize what is the inevitable alternative. 
But this senseless playing at war which is now devastating 
Europe must be the last of its kind. 


§ 35. — The Hardening and Enervating Effects of War and 

It has actually been said that war directly tends to perfect 
mankind! The notion that peace enervates men and war 
hardens them seems to be taken as much for granted by most 
persons as the view that becoming enervated is a crime against 



civilization and becoming hardened the contrary. Both opin- 
ions are absolutely unproved commonplaces. 

That these ''hardening virtues'^ must not be carried too far 
even the Germans have just realized ; for although we used to 
envy the English their physical fitness, our hatred has taught 
us that to resort to all manner of strengthening devices is 
mere "disgusting pride of muscle." That some good can be 
learned even from hatred is likewise obvious, for after what 
has already been said about selection based on intellectual 
qualities it is not too much to say that we should not make 
any one-sided attempts to strengthen the body at the cost of 
the mind. British sports, which are popular throughout the 
world, may be suited to the whole world, which matter little 
to us; but their imitation in Germany was injurious to Ger- 
man genius. 

It is also idle to discuss, as is often done, whether we ought 
to strive to attain to the Kalokagathie of the ancient Greeks, 
the union of beauty and goodness. Personally I can scarcely 
imagine anything finer, attached as I am to the times and 
people of ancient Hellas. But I realize that the finest flowers 
of German intellect did not grow in the soil of Kalokagathie. 
There is a certain delicacy of German thought perhaps in- 
compatible with the iron muscles of a prize-fighter. I am not 
referring to the mystics and romantics or even to Kant and 
Schiller, for I know that I shall be told in reply tl^at the days 
are over when we have need of such dreamers ; I am referring 
to the most vigorous men of the nineteenth century, who have 
rendered Germany great practical service, which is the one 
thing which seems to matter now. Such men, for instance, as 
Siemens, Krupp, Helmholtz, Abbe, Ballin, and Dernburg, cer- 
tainly abided by the old Latin precept '^mens sana in corpore 
sano/^ but it is hard to picture them as prize-fighters or even 
as exceptionally physically "fit." 

Muscular training, therefore, should not be carried too far, 
and for this reason many physical exercises have been con- 
demned in Germany. English boxing, like Spanish bull-fight- 



ing, is forbidden in Germany, owing to its alleged brutalizing 
tendencies; and strong arguments have been urged against 
fOot-ball and base-ball, on the ground that both frequently 
cause bloodshed. Nevertheless, there is apparently no ob- 
jection to bloodshed in war, the moral element in which is 
supposed to prevent the killing of men from having those 
brutalizing effects which otherwise appear even if it be merely 
animals which are killed.^ That this is not really the case is 
proved by the increase of crimes of violence observable after 
all wars, even after the Franco-Prussian War. While wars 
are actually going on, there is of course a decrease of absolute 
figures, because most of those forming the criminal classes are 
at the front. On the other hand, even in this war an alarming 
increase of youthful offenders who have remained at home 
is noticeable. Although owing to scarcity of magistrates and 
other causes, all comparatively venal offenses are as much as 
possible treated as such and left unpunished, nevertheless, the 
number of juvenile offenders in Berlin, for instance, increased 
by more than half, which clearly proves how out of hand 
young people get in war.- 

But even if this moral deterioration were considered as of 
no importance, is it in any sense true that war is even capable 
of physically invigorating a nation ? For a long time past the 
Swiss and the English have waged no wars, and yet they have 
remained vigorous and warlike.^ On the other hand, the 
Turks and the French have always been held to be the most 
warlike nations in Europe, and yet both nations are described 
as being degenerate. The '*Sick Man of the Bosporus" used 
to be as proverbial as the ** degenerate Frenchman." This 

1 An alarming instance of moral confusion is the formation of ani- 
mal protection societies for the front. 

2 F. von Liszt, in a lecture about juvenile offenders in war, delivered 
in January, 1916, asserted that in 1913, 1109 young persons of the 
male sex were charged and punished; in 1915, however, 1790. This 
estimate was based on the three first quarterly reports of the Berlin 
Head Office for the Protection of Young Persons. 

3 Colonial wars, even the Boer War and the Crimean War, scarcely 
affected the mass of the British people. 


general opinion is not affected because many persons to-day 
regard Turkey with other eyes on account of her being their 
ally, and also because, after the experiences of the IMarne and 
the Yser, they are no longer inclined to call the French de- 

A famous example, however, to be found in all school books, 
is the * ' winter in capua. ' * Since Livy ^ stated that in such 
a center of debauchery Hannibal's armies became degenerate, 
every one has repeated this. What? This army, which had 
fought for years in Spain, which could claim to have per- 
formed the incomparably difficult feat of crossing the ice and 
snow-covered Little St. Bernard, a feat which caused the death 
of one third of the men ; this army which won the great vic- 
tories of Ticino, of the Trebia, and Lake Trasimeno, and in 
the succeeding years the battle of Cannae, perhaps the most 
glorious in the history of the world ; this army is said to have 
become so much degenerated by a single winter in Capua that- 
Marcellus was able to cut it to pieces at Nola? Then Jean 
Paul must have been right in saying that ''steeling warriors 
by war lasts no longer than starching linen.*' 

If this is really true, if half a year of peace suffices to de- 
prive a tried and experienced army of all its strength, and if, 
therefore, in order to be proof against such degeneration, we 
must go to war at least twice a year, it would seem too high a 
price to pay. Most of us would rather do without being hard- 
ened than have to live in a perpetual state of warfare. 

§ 36. — War Weariness 

Perhaps, however, it was not Capua at all, but the preceding 
war which unfitted Hannibal's army for war. It is an actual 
fact, known to all military writers, that after a certain period 
of warfare soldiers attain their maximum of military efficiency, 
a period estimated by the various authors at from about six 
to twelve months. The reason generally alleged for this is 
that the soldier, inured to battle, gradually becomes undis- 

1 Livy, "Histories," Book XXIII, Chapter XVTII. 


ciplined, owing to the freedom of life at the front and in camp, 
and he acquires certain tricks ^ which help him to guard 
against danger, and that therefore he cannot be ordered to 
advance, regardless of everything, in the same way as the 
youthful new-comer, who presses forward in defiance of death. 
Then there is that negative selection which in time deprives 
an army of all its bravest men. The famous Marshal von der 
Goltz ^ writes, in reference to this subject : 

It is natural that death should reap his richest harvest from among 
the best men, for the bravest go on in front, and they are the first 
to fall victims to the hail of bullets. No one will hesitate to pay 
this tribute to the dead or to admit that the value of an army de- 
creases with every battle fought. 

Thus, in the opinion of military men qualified to judge, 
does war itself help to cause armies gradually to degenerate. 

§ 37. — The Injury done to the Brain by War 

But there is yet another fact, perhaps the most important 
of all. It was the Russo-Japanese War that first called our 
attention to the absolutely unparalleled way in which the 
nervous system is shattered by modern warfare, even more 
than by former wars. This was first noticed not by a military 
man or a medical man, but by the young Russian author An- 
drejev,^ whose book *'Das rote Lachen" (''Red Laughter") 
gives a distressing description of how men are broken down 
by w^ar and made incapable of enduring the manifold horrors 
of another campaign. 

Andrejev believes that this *'red laughter," which then 
resounded over Russia's vast plains, was equivalent to the 
shattering of Russia's forces. He was admitted to be right, 

1 In English in the original, — Translator. 

2 C. von der Goltz, "Leon Gamhetta und seine Armeen," 1877: 
Berlin, F, Schneider & Co. At the time Goltz was reprimanded he- 
cause of this now universally admired book, and punished by being sent 
to Gera. 

3 "Das rote Tvachen," by L Androjev, 1905. Translated into German 
by Scliolz: Berlin. 


but people consoled themselves by saying that this nervous 
collapse was something peculiar to the slackness of Slav char- 
acter. Shortly after the outbreak of war, indeed, Bonhoeffer, 
the German mental specialist, delivered an address repudiating 
the expression 'Svar mentality," which used to be frequently 
heard, although he merely means that there is no difference 
between the injurious mental ett'ects of war and other mental 
infirmities caused by physical and mental exertion and im- 
pressions. But as war is for most persons the greatest physi- 
cal and emotional experience of their lives, it is not to be won- 
dered at that dormant tendencies to disease in those who enter 
into it should be aroused and strengthened in war more than at 
other times. 

At all events, no one who has frequent opportunity of ob- 
serving officers or men returning from the front can have 
failed to observe the red laughter of war. Very often a man's 
experiences on campaign have caused him to go mad, and 
even when matters did not reach this pitch, nevertheless sol- 
diers were ill; they turned over in bed, unable to sleep, and 
if they did fall asleep, they were tormented by bad dreams. 
They lived through the battle over and over again, and 
screamed aloud, sometimes in terror, sometimes in anger, some- 
times even in a tone of command. Placid men were incred- 
ibly irritable, so that their wives were unable to live with 
them on the same happy terms as before. Strong men wept 
at the least trifle, being themselves aware that they had lost 
all self-control ; and deep down in the hearts of all was dread 
of the horrors of battle, although training and custom pre- 
vented them for the most part from admitting this. 

The remarkable thing is that these serious mental and other 
derangements almost without exception did not show them- 
selves until the men had returned from the front and were 
exposed tt) the contrast of their own peaceful homes. To such 
a pass did matters come that something had to be done ; and 
the militarj^ authorities, seeing how difficult it was to induce 
men, especially wounded men, to return to the front, once they 


had been home again, in many cases curtailed soldiers' leave 
to the utmost possible extent. 

Now, these observations are based on absolute facts, and 
they suggest that it was not Capua which ruined Hannibal's 
army, but the hard fighting that army had previously gone 
through, and that the rest at Capua was only the cause which 
let loose so much evil, just as happens when a man goes home 
to rest. 

Of course a man on campaign must learn to ride and march 
and to defy inclement weather and the discomforts of bad 
quarters, and it is certainly true that in a sense this tends to 
harden him physically. But it is no less true that man does 
not win victories with his legs and arms, but with his brain, 
and there is no doubt that war is injurious to the brain. 

For the most important part of man, therefore, war is in 
no sense a tonic or fortifying medicine, but on the contrary 
has a lowering effect. 

§ 38. — The Influence of War on the Birth-rate 

Now, as after a few wars a slight increase in the birth-rate 
was noticed, it was thought that war must have a good effect 
on national vitality. Such increase, however, is always slight, 
and nothing like enough to compensate for the preceding de- 
crease of the birth-rate. This appears very plainly from the 
following diagram, showing the birth-rate curves during the 
years 1868-1872, and also from Fig. 2 on page 98, showing 
the birth-rate curves from 1830-1912. 

The birth-rate of a nation is far from depending merely 
upon its biological standing, for in reality every nation is 
capable of producing an incomparably larger number of chil- 
dren than is ever actually the case. The reasons for this are 
in general prudential : people feel instinctively that there are 
no adequate means of supporting more children. 

Now, war makes room, first, because a certain number of 
men die, and, next, because in war-time fewer children are 
always born. The preceding diagram (Fig. 1) plainly shows 



that nine months after the outbreak of war the birth-rate be- 
gins to fall suddenly, and that it remains low till about nine 
months after the conclusion of peace. Now, the curve of the 
birth-rate which might have been expected had there been no 

Fig. 1. 

Actual number of male births. 
fProbable number of male births 



had there been no war. 
►had the last-line troops 
not been disbanded. 
Total deficiency of births and of births of weaklings. 
Period of mobilization and semi-mobilization. 
The same period postponed for nine months. 
Absolute number of male births in Prussia in the years 
'^*~' 1868-1872. 

The figures are given in thousands per month, and are taken from the 
Prussian Annual Statistical Reports. In order to make the diagram 
clearer, the figures are calculated for months of equal length; that is, 
the figures for the months of April, June, September, and November 

are raised by — =r 1.033, those for February, 1869, 1870, and 1871 by 

31 31 

— =1.12, and those for February, 1868 and 1872, by — = 1.07. 
28 29 

war (see the dotted line) is fairly accurately known from 
the three preceding years (1868-1870). Consequently, it is 
easy to see that the dotted part shows the numbers of those 
who ought to have been born, but were not — ^more than a 
hundred thousand children. Add a hundred thousand deaths 


directly caused by the war, and we have a decrease of popu- 
lation of altogether nearly one quarter of a million, a deficit 
which cannot be made up in anything like the time in which 
it arose. 

Further consideration leads to the discovery of other im- 
portant effects of war on the birth-rate. It is clear that even 
in the first nine months of the Franco-Prussian War (1871) 
relatively too few children were born. There may be various 
causes for this, among them commercial depression owing to 
acute danger of war, an increase in the number of premature 
births owing to the excitement of the first months of the war, 
and increase in the number of artificially induced miscar- 
riages owing to anxiety and uncertainty. This, although not 
a direct result of war, is nevertheless a direct result of prepa- 
rations for war. 

What is particularly remarkable, however, is that in No- 
vember, 1871, the birth-rate should comparatively suddenly 
have risen again to its former level; that is, even in April, 
1871, very nearly the normal number of children were en- 
gendered. But then only the garrison troops which had re- 
mained in Germany had been demobilized, while the whole of 
the great army on active service was still kept in France. 
Therefore these comparatively unfit human beings actually 
begot more children than they would have done in normal 
times, in fact, nearly as many as are indicated by the striped 
portion of the diagram, or about sixty thousand children. 
This also strongly bears out my contentions, first, that the 
birth-rate does not depend upon biological fitness, and, sec- 
ondly, that one consequence of war is that a larger percentage 
of children have unfit men as their fathers, and that the race 
thus becomes deteriorated. 

What momentous consequences will be those of such a long 
war as the present, which, moreover, has been carried on under 
conditions of universal service, it is difficult to forecast ; but 
some idea may be formed when it is reflected that in 1870 the 
birth-rate fell only from forty to thirty-five, — ^that is, by 



about twelve per cent., — but has already fallen by about half. 

In the tirst two years of war about two million too few chil- 
dren will have been born, and between one and two million, 
besides, who are below par rather than normal. These four 
millions, together with the two millions loss directly attribut- 
able to the war, are in themselves enough to decimate the Ger- 
man people. 

It is therefore absurd to speak of war having a good effect 
upon a nation's procreativeness. On the contrary, the curve 
(See Fig. 2) showing the percentage of children born in 






pw 1000 Inhabitants War of 1855 

— teT" 

1 I 

War of 1870-71 

i850 1900 

Fig. 2. 
Number of births per cent, in Prussia during the years 1830-1910. 

Germany from 1830 to 1910 clearly indicates that the influ- 
ence of war is nothing more or less than extremely unfavorable. 
Between 1830 and 1870 the birth-rate slowly rose, then 
comes the slight decrease owing to the war of 1866 and the 
heavy falling off owing to the war of 1870, followed by a 
clearly perceptible, but very transitory, compensatory increase. 
This increase, as can easily be calculated, is nothing like suf- 
ficient to make up for the decrease. Then follows a gradual 
and continuous falling off, until in 1914, just before the war, 
we had reached figures w^hich could not but alarm, and indeed 
did alarm, every one who attached any importance to the 


birth-rate; so that, as at one time in France, attempts were 
made to remedy matters by legislative or administrative 

Personally, I do not attach extreme importance to this birth- 
rate question; but, at all events, statistics clearly prove that 
war does not have any sort or kind of good effect upon a 
country's population. That even during the short time that 
the compensatory increase of the birth-rate lasts the quality 
of the births cannot be influenced for good has already been 
proved in discussing the question of paternity in war. This 
seems likewise borne out by a consideration of children born 
in war. During what I admit was a cursoiy investigation I 
have scarcely found a single person of eminence who was pro- 
created in war-time or whose father was a returned soldier. 
At all events, they are certainly fewer than they ought to be, 
considering how many wars there have been and how many 
men more or less eminent. 

§ 39, — The Keen for cement of the Sense of Power 

War, therefore, invigorates nations from a purely physical 
point of view, just as do sports sensibly engaged in, without 
taking any account of the fact that millions perish owing to 
excess of such invigoration. 

Similarly, with regard to the effects of war on character, 
the enormous upheaval caused by war certainly does more 
harm than good, but it may perhaps happen that it arouses 
a slumbering nation. Take a watch which has stopped. If 
we bang it violently on the table, it will probably be broken 
in two, but sometimes it begins to go again. The watch, how- 
ever, if it does go at all, goes right, but a nation whose thirst 
for power has been aroused by war does not know how ta 

1 If this decrease was long unperceived by the majority of the public, 
this is because of late years mortality has also greatly decreased; con- 
sequently the absolute numbers of the population continued to increase 
considerably. It need hardly be said that such an "increase of old 
people" is only apparently a real increase? of population, as every 
statistician admits. 


satisfy that thirst. It is ready to do something, but there is 
no one to direct its energies, and they may therefore lead to 
all sorts of good or bad results. 

A war, especially one ending with an easy victory like those 
of 1864, 1866, and 1870, will generally make a nation warlike, 
and through the influence of its baleful martial spirit drive 
it along the road to ruin.^ 

But matters often turn out otherwise. Have the rulers of 
the people never reflected that serious consequences may re- 
sult from wrenching the hammer from the workman's hand, 
and putting a sword in its place ? The working-man, now ac- 
customed to use a weapon that he once merely manufactured, 
is put in a position in which the political fortunes of the 
country depend directly upon him. No longer is he op- 
pressed: he is fawned upon, and not in the street only, as 
witness the commotion made about "our heroes," but also by 
the Government. It was so in 1813, when the king promised 
the people a constitution; it was so in 1870, when he really 
did grant them universal suffrage; it was so in 1914, when 
the kaiser first recollected the constitutional ordinance which 
places the crown above all parties; and after peace it will be 
so again. 

Moreover, the working-man comes into closest contact with 
cannon, which, Lassalle tells us, form an important constituent 
part of the constitution ; and thus he realizes that in the world 
to-day might is the mother of right. This might, however, 
may take any turn; and there are not a few who hope that 
an after effect of this present war will be that Germany will 
become stronger because they believe that the liberation move- 
ment will be strengthened there. This is possible, but even 
freedom might be attained by more direct means and with 
far less bloodshed. 

1 Hence the Bible says, "Scatter thou the people that delight in war," 
Psalms 68, v. 30, and hence the necessity for all who wish Germany 
well to take a firm stand against any policy of annexation. If Ger- 
many is to continue to exist, she must abandon the belief that any- 
thing can be achieved by force. 



§ 40.-7^5 Alleged Cruelty 

Sentimental persons consider war wrong because it must 
of necessity be cruel, whereas robust natures, on the contrary, 
persist in seeing something good in training men in * Whole- 
some brutality. ' ' Apart, however, from the fact that neither 
sentimental nor robust arguments are ever good argument, 
cruelty and justice are by no means opposed to each other, 
although they certainly do not mean the same thing. 

When the wolf eats the lamb or man the ox, this is cruel 
to the ovine and bovine races, though for the canines and 
primates natural and right. But it has nothing to do with 
justice. Both mining and navigation might be forbidden on 
the ground of their cruelty, just as the manufacture of sulphur 
matches has been forbidden, and yet they are all honest oc- 
cupations. Needless cruelty is indeed needless, but necessary 
cruelties are, after all, necessary; and however greatly we 
may revere justice, this fact remains unaltered. 

In Germany alone about thirty-five thousand persons annu- 
ally die an unnatural or violent death, whether from an acci- 
dent while at work, suicide, or crime. This makes a total of 
one and a half million dead for the forty-four years of peace 
immediately preceding the present war; and at any rate, as 
yet the war has scarcely exceeded this number.^ Now, impar- 
tially considered, war is not at all particularly cruel. Statis- 
tics prove that in the long run death takes a far higher toll of 
railway employees, fishermen, miners, and sailors than of sol- 
diers even in the cruellest war. The only reason why the 
deaths in war make a great impression upon us is that they 
are crowded together in a short space of time. Norman An- 
gell ^ says, basing his assertion on figures which I admit I 
have not checked, that as much suffering and loss of human 
life has been caused by cod-fishing alone in Europe during the 

1 These words were written in 1915. — Translator. 

2 Norman Angell, ''The Great Illusion," 1910. 


last century as by war, and he even goes the length of saying 
that such peaceful occupations have actually been the cause 
of almost as much brutality. 

Our tropical administration in peace-time necessitates a not 
less heavy toll in the form of the health of fine men; and a 
vast deal that goes on in Africa or South America means, sad 
to relate, that human nature is being morally brutalized in a 
way as bad as anything which can be charged to war. But, 
above all, our present commercial system being what it is, 
enormously more human beings die from injuries received in 
commercial competition than from murderous war. 

If we consider war from the point of view of the whole 
human race, we are almost tempted to smile at the paltriness 
of its effects. About every second one human being dies, but 
even this murderous World War has hardly succeeded in 
greatly raising this figure, for as a result of it about sixty-four 
human beings die on an average every minute, instead of 

Our unconscious sentimentality, in fact, leads us to over- 
estimate the number of war's victims. Of course it might 
be said that it is young and vigorous persons who die in war, 
which is certainly true ; but the accident statistics just quoted, 
according to which thirty-five thousand Germans perished 
annually from accidents, prove that even in this case too much 
is made of war. 

This impression of the relative unimportance of war in 
regard to its effect on the duration of human life is still fur- 
ther deepened if we examine statistics more closely. The days 
of man's life are three score years and ten, and as a matter 
of fact we see that a great number of men in comfortable and 
sufficiently remunerated occupations, such as those of scholars 
and scientists, clergy, monarchs, statesmen, and others, do 
reach this age ; yet the working-man on an average attains the 
age of at most forty years. Of the inhabitants of Europe 
twelve millions die every year, which makes more than 1,000,- 
000,000 (a thousand million) in the last century. As these 


deaths occurred on an average thirty years too soon, this 
means that in the last century about thirty-six thousand mil- 
lion years of human life have been thus destroyed in Europe 

Now let us assume that during the last hundred years about 
thirty million human beings have died in Europe as a direct 
or indirect result of war, and that on an average twenty years 
were cut off from their lives. This would give only rather 
more than five hundred million years of life destroyed by war. 

We see, therefore, that the lives sacrificed to war amount 
to only one sixtieth part of those sacrificed on the industrial 
battle-field. Yerily, when faced with these figures, it cannot 
be said that war is the cruellest and sternest form of struggle 
on mother earth. Moreover, as a matter of fact the losses of 
human lives were always very quickly made up again, and 
the Franco-Prussian war produced a scarcely perceptible notch 
in the German population curve. (Cf. the curve on page 98,) 

It is true that other wars — wars fought long ago, for in- 
stance the Thirty Years' War — have exercised a far worse 
influence, owing to their indirect results. But just as a per- 
son may quite justifiably go to sea and brave its dangers in 
the hope of thereby attaining a life of greater comfort and 
wealth afterward, even so nations might be allowed to face 
the comparatively small risks of war in order that they may 
become more prosperous afterward. 

Moreover, a certain amount of cruelty is necessary, and 
therefore also good. The life of a person is not of such im- 
portance as to justify any advance in civilization being de- 
ferred out of regard for it. Are we to cease traveling by 
rail because trains may collide? Or are we to abolish motor- 
cars because it may be impossible to avoid inoffensive pass- 
ersby sometimes getting under their wheels? 

Who did not rejoice over the piercing of the Gothard Tun- 
nel, although many workmen lost their lives over the work? 
Who would lament the construction of vessels of fifty thou- 
sand tons burden, although if such a mammoth liner as the 


Titanic, for instance, goes down, thousands of men find their 
graves in a single hour? And would the conquest of the 
air be possible without hundreds of thousands sacrificing their 
lives in order to buy their experience? Many more such in- 
stances might be cited, for the impulse to risk our lives is 
innate in us, and thousands flock to climb mountains, albeit 
this sport is foolhardy and of no use in itself. 

And thank God that it is so. If civilization is to advance, 
there must be men ready to sacrifice their lives, and the victims 
claimed hy war would he no reason for giving it up. Were 
it justifiable in itself, there would be no reason to trouble 
about mountains of corpses. 

§ 41. — Man as Subject and Object of Warfare 

War in itself, abstractly considered, is an anachronism, and 
continues to survive only because men carry it on and prepare 
for it. Man's participation in war differs from his partici- 
pation in anything else, because in war he takes both an 
active and a passive part. In the case of a piece of music a 
man can be either performer or hearer ; in an execution, either 
executioner or criminal. In short, in all cases, even in legisla- 
tion, man is either subject or object. In war, however, man 
both shoots and is shot, and it is impossible for one person to 
wage war without some one else doing likewise. 

War has often been called the ''great leveler,*' but never 
has it leveled to such an overwhelming extent as during this 
war of 1914. It has, in fact, made all human beings in Ger- 
many of the same stamp, with the result that they are as 
like one another as two peas. "Go ahead," '*We '11 give it 
them," "We must win because we have deserved to," — with 
these and such-like phrases has every war been ushered for 
ages past ; and it is not surprising that no one should be able 
to show much originality in composing variations on so lim- 
ited a theme. But that Sudermann and Richard Dehmel, 
Ludwig Fulda and Arno Holz, were so like one another no 
one would at one time have dreamed. There are no longer 



any parties, and our political newspapers differ as little as 
one egg from another. This effacement of individuality, so 
that scarcely a shade of difference remains, between one per- 
son and another, this uniform repetition of what has been 
said a thousand times already, is perhaps of all forms of com- 
monplaceness the most depressing. 

The object of war, in short, both practical and intellectual, 
is the destruction of the object by the subject, and at the same 
time the destruction of the subject by the object. Now, this 
being so, as no one doubts or even can doubt, it is really as- 
tonishing that many persons should so very frequently ex- 
press surprise at its inevitable results. The fittest symbols of 
war are in reality two lions devouring each other, which can 
be called in turn subject and object. 

§ 42. — Killing and Dying 

This peculiar twofold effect of war manifests itself in an- 
other manner. At the first glance there seems to be two 
characteristics distinguishing war: we are determined to kill 
and we are ready to die. The readiness to sacrifice their lives 
for an idea is considered by almost all human beings as an act 
denoting moral superiority, the Chinese being perhaps the sole 
exception. On the other hand, readiness to kill another has 
always been considered to denote moral degradation. Thus it 
might be thought that here is a case of superiority and in- 
feriority pitted against each other, and that it is to some 
extent left to the person to choose whether he will bring out 
the good or the bad side of war the more strongly; indeed, 
that it perhaps depends only upon the personality of the indi- 
vidual soldier \7hether war has a morally invigorating or a 
brutalizing effect upon him. 

In practice this twofold possibility has never been lost sight 
of, and even now we can read in almost every newspaper in 
every European country that our soldiers to-day are a ''band 
of heroes uplifted hy war/' and those of the enemy a *' rabble 
of war-brutalized soldiery/' Putting such thoughtless com- 


parisons aside, we might still think that there is something 
genuinely good in war. We must put all such considerations 
from us, however, for the one thing characteristic of war is 
desire to kill. Only in war may we kill our fellow-mortals 
unpunished, for the killing of a man in a duel, which comes 
within much the same category, is now universally, albeit 
mildly, punished. Man may sacrifice himself, however, for 
the utmost possible diversity of objects. Christ sacrificed him- 
self for mankind, Lucretia herself for her honor, Winkelried 
himself for the deliverance of his country, Thekla herself for 
love's sake: doctors sacrifice themselves for the sake of in- 
vestigating the plague, mothers for their children, children for 
their parents, and *' noble characters'* in general for their 
fellow-men. In short, every one in his life has abundant op- 
portunity of self-sacrifice, and there is no need for him to 
select just that particular method which necessitates his first 
endeavoring to sacrifice as many others as possible. 

Hence we ought not to consider, as many do, that the sacri- 
fice of life in war is a reason for retaining war, for there is no 
lack of other occupations in which life may be sacrificed not 
equally horribly, but more wisely, for instance, as a pioneer 
of new discoveries, in the fight against disease or for lessening 
danger of fire or loss of life at sea, in producing articles of 
prime necessity, on the stormy ocean, or deep in the bowels 
of the earth. Or is it perhaps one sort of heroism when an 
officer, bearing aloft his country's flag, leads his regiment 
onward under a hail of bullets, and another sort when Petten- 
kof er intentionally swallows a cholera bacillus ? And if, even 
now, there are not many Pettenkofers, then an attempt should 
be made to induce more to come forward — ^more Pettenkofers 
and fewer soldiers. The sum total of heroism would remain 
the same, but the sum total of human happiness on earth would 
be increased. 

No, it is not dying which is the characteristic act distinctive 
of war, but killing, for war is the one occasion when twentieth- 
century man thinks himself justified in killing his fellow-man. 


But killing is brutalizing, even for those men, like the hang- 
man, who kill in accordance with legally prescribed forms. 
Moreover, the hangman's calling used naturally to be looked 
upon as ignominious, and even now he has to live, in self-im- 
posed anonymity, a somewhat solitary existence. I do not 
know a single hangman, and although I consider them thor- 
oughly honorable men, I should not wish to know one. 

Even the killing of animals has a brutalizing effect, and 
popular opinion used to put the knacker on a level with the 
hangman. Doubtless we feel, quite properly, that we must 
draw a distinction between the hangman and the soldier, in 
whose case the element of self-sacrifice atones for something. 
But as self-sacrifice is nowise characteristic of war, its spe- 
cific effect is, after all, only to brutalize the human race. 

§ 43. — Bloodthirstiness 

Love of killing seems to be positively in man's blood. An 
American writer, whose name I forget, says that we are not 
descended from the ** noble beasts of prey," but from cow- 
ardly vegetable-feeders (graminiverous animals), which, being 
too weak to kill one another, rage at one another owing to a 
perverted instinct. In my opinion this is a wrong point of 
view, first, because most vegetable-feeders never eat one an- 
other, and, secondly, because it is easier for an animal to 
fight one of a different species than one of its own. 

But what is remarkable about this innate human love of 
murder is that it reaches such a pitch that man is one of the 
few creatures that actually devour their own kind.^ True, it 
is frequently noticed that among animals parents eat their 
offspring (pigs, for instance, do so), but that it seldom hap- 
pens that full-grown animals eat one another. At all events, 
cannibalism is in this sense a purely human characteristic 

1 According to the careful calculations of Richard Andreas, in "Die 
Anthropophagie" : Leipsic, 1887, the number of cannibals in particular 
about the year 1870 still numbered nearly two million; that is, more 
than one per thousand of mankind. 


(that is, a characteristic which was developed in a compara- 
tively recent period), because in the dwellings of the most 
ancient human beings charred and split bones of all kinds of 
beasts of prey have been found, but never human bones which 
had been so treated. Then came a period, however, when al- 
most all nations were cannibals, and all national epics contain 
unmistakable reminiscences of this cannibalism. This is clear 
from the legends of the Pelopidae, of Gaia and Polyphemus, 
while even in the Bible there are indications of cannibalism, 
and as children we used innocently to read about it in the 
story of the juniper-tree. 

In all these legends it is parents that eat their offspring, 
which points to the fact that this was the most primitive form 
of cannibalism, the biological significance of which was ob- 
viously to do away as speedily as possible with weakly new- 
born infants in order to make room for healthy offspring. 
Similar reasons account for the exposure of children, which 
is met with in the case of even such peoples as the Spartans 
and Chinese, in some respects very vigorous. There were fre- 
quently practical reasons for this also, since children are often 
a great burden, particularly to nomadic peoples. That moth- 
ers kill new-born infants to prevent their figures being spoiled 
by suckling them, as is the case in the Solomon Isles, probably 
seldom happens. 

But all this is child murder. In reality nowadays almost 
everywhere among primitive peoples old and superfluous folk 
or captured enemies are killed or eaten, as the case may be. 
Now, this can scarcely have been a primitive instinct, for the 
fact that the sick and feeble are not simply left behind in 
some thicket, but actually killed, proves that a certain sense 
of responsibility is felt toward them. Only creatures com- 
paratively highly developed from the social point of view, 
such as storks, do anything of this sort, or at any rate they 
are said to do it. \Yhether those killed were buried or de- 
voured probably depended chiefly on practical considerations 
of food-supply, for in countries with few wild animals this is 


the most convenient way of procuring meat. This can be 
proved to explain the former cannibalism of the New Zealand 
Maori, and perhaps also of the industrious Aztecs. 

Thus originally delight in killing others had, beyond doubt, 
a purpose and rational cause. It was not long, however, be- 
fore some admixture of superstition appeared. The belief 
arose that by incorporating the bodily substance of good an- 
cestors or valiant foes in one's own body, their good qualities 
were also acquired; just as for a similar reason the Burmese, 
Indians, Romans, Serbians, and ancient Teutons, and after- 
ward during the whole of the Middle Ages almost all European 
nations, used to wall up a living being in a newly built build- 
ing in order that his soul might become its guardian spirit. 
The existence of this mystical tendency in some living canni- 
bals can be actually proved. 

Superstition of this kind, of course, need not have been the 
original motive, but on the other hand dogmatic religious tra- 
ditions were undoubtedly the cause of murderous proclivities 
having been handed down even into times in which there was 
no longer any object in them. True, modern charges of kill- 
ing children out of religious mania, charges formerly made 
against the Ejiights Templars and now mostly against the 
Jews, are unfounded. Philippe le Bel burned more than one 
hundred Templars for this cause, but it would seem that de- 
sire to get possession of the enormous wealth of their order 
was his chief motive in bringing the accusation. 

It is impossible not to be struck with the fact that canni- 
balism and human sacrifice in general are very frequently 
connected with religious ceremonies. It is enough to point 
out^ that even Christianity, in the sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper, shows traces of cannibalism, and that consequently 
the derisive appellation of '^mangeurs du hon Dieu^' is not 
wholly without justification.^ 

In all religions, even in that of the Old Testament, there 

1 For further details see Schurtz's "Urgeschichte der Kultur." ("An- 
cient History of Civilization") : Leipsic, 1900. 


are references to human sacrifice, though in the Christian era 
this was no longer permitted. Even here, however, the mur- 
derous impulse was stronger than doctrinal principles, and 
more human beings than ever were slain on pretext of having 
been tried and condemned as heretics and witches.^ 

Human sacrifice, however, has occurred in parts of the world 
and at all times, even in the case of the more tolerant religions. 
Chinese and Hindus, Phenicians and Carthaginians, Jews and 
Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, Kelts, Teutons, and Slavs, 
negroes. North American Indians, and South Sea Islanders, 
all used to sacrifice human beings or still do so. 

Nowhere was this abomination as prevalent as in Mexico, 
where from twenty thousand to fifty thousand persons used 
to be sacrificed annually on a special day set apart for the 
purpose, while in the year 1486 fully one hundred thousand 
human beings were sacrificed at once. The breast of the 
wretched victim was rapidly ripped open with well-sharpened 
obsidian knives, the heart firmly seized and torn out and 
thrown, still smoking, into the maw of an idol near by. This 
hideous custom of sacrifice, however, was followed not by the 
Aztecs alone, but by the in some respects highly civilized 
Peruvian Incas, and also by all the other primitive American 
races. Even now in the African Kingdom of Dahomey hun- 
dreds of negro slaves are annually slain for sacrificial pur- 
poses.^ Stress must be laid upon these religious butcheries 
just because they perhaps more than anything else show how 
deep-seated in man is bloodthirstiness. 

But in course of time man was deprived of one chaace 
after another of gratifying his love of blood, and in the 
eighteenth century virtually all legitimate methods of human 
slaughter had fallen into desuetude. True, the poor folk con- 

1 According to the estimate of Professor Thomasius of Halle, the 
number of witches and heretics burned by ecclesiastical and civil courts 
reached the almost incredible total of about nine millions. 

2 "Kulturwandel und Volkerverkchr" ("Changes in Civilization and 
Racial Intercourse") by Hermann Brunnhofer. Wilhelm Friedrich: 
Leipsic, 1874. 


tinued to die for the nobles, but they died silently and no 
longer in the arena. Only a few traces of the official exhibi- 
tions of blood still lingered on. In Spain there were still 
bull-fights; English sailors did not give up boxing, nor Ger- 
man students duelling; in Russia there were various sects, 
such as the Soschigateti, and the sect of the Spassow Sogolassie, 
who used to kill themselves or their children; but generally 
speaking the French Revolution had made it impossible in 
Europe for the bloodthirsty instincts so deeply ingrained in 
human nature to find satisfaction. Characteristically enough, 
the French Revolution was attested by a great and unneces- 
sary slaughter of human beings. 

War alone remained, and all these primeval impulses were 
concentrated upon it. What wonder, therefore, that the na- 
tional genius should have created the so-called national army, 
and that delight in war, the sole surviving form of blood- 
thirstiness, should have assumed gigantic proportions. And 
now we have a Richard Dehmel rejoicing over the death of as 
many *' German heretics (by which he means men who refuse 
to admit German supremacy) as possible ^^in major em gloriam 
patrice/' and doing so, moreover, with the same sort of pious 
resignation wherewith an Innocent III used to rejoice that 
as many religious heretics as possible should be burned '^in 
majorem gloriam Dei!" 

§ 44. — The Brutalizing Effects of War 

War, which is fought out with cold steel, is, after all, a 
bloody business, and the effect of blood must not be left out 
of account. The saying about a **lion which has once tasted 
blood" is not a mere phrase, and it is a principle deeply in- 
grained in human nature that everything which we do a 
second time comes easier than the first time. ^^Ce n^est que le 
premier pas qui coute" and ^'L'appetit vient en mangeant." 
This, indeed, is the foundation of all possibility of evolution, 
for everything we learn is learned by practice. But it is 
possible to learn evil as easily, perhaps even more easily, than 


good; and there is nothing good in considering man's life as 
of no account, for in the end all civilization is based on respect 
for life. 

In war, however, life loses in value. In battle regiments of 
a man's fellow-men are sacrificed, and civilians and soldiers 
condemned to death by court martial for offenses which other- 
wise would scarcely have been punished. And as for the lives 
of enemies, an officer for whom as a man I had great respect 
told me, with horror at the recollection, that he once threat- 
ened his landlord that he would shoot him if a lost purse could 
not be found. Human beings — hostages, for instance — of 
whose individual innocence their executioners must be con- 
vinced are shot in cold blood ; and when at the very outset of 
the war a Pinissian officer preferred suicide to carrying out an 
order of this kind, his fellow-officers spoke of this self-sacrifice 
for conscience' sake as hypersensitive weakness. 

Another instance of indifference is that we are not offended 
when expressions generally used of animals only are applied 
to human beings. Even our official reports speak of twenty 
of the enemy having been "shot down," and trenches are 
"cleansed of the eneniy," just as an old coat used to be 
cleansed of filth or vermin. 

I agree with our sticklers for the purity of the German lan- 
guage, but even more important than attacking French words 
seems to me the extermination of brutal expressions. Speech 
is as a mirror reflecting the soul of a people. Let us there- 
fore be on our guard, and not add to this list, which might be 
very much lengthened. Perhaps these expressions will disap- 
pear again of themselves. War, indeed, must have a brutal- 
izing effect, because it forces man to make the performance 
of brutal actions his business, a fact which is gradually be- 
ginning to be perceived. For instance, W. von Hollander,' 
a soldier who took part in the war for a year and a haH 
writes as follows: 

i*'Der Kreig als Zustand" ("War as a State") by W. von Hollander, 
in the "Berliner Tageblatt," No. 10, of Jan. 6, 1916. 


Warfare has become for us both country and calling. The army 
is a people apart; and the language of war is a language incompre- 
hensible to any outsider, however excellent a linguist. The excep- 
tional has become the habitual, and what used to be called insanity 
or madness has in process become in the language of war not merely 
a fact, but a matter of course. 

No one who has lived through all of the five hundred days of war 
without a break has been struck by this gradual transition from ex- 
cessive tension to passivity. He has been aware merely of a sense 
of numbness and resignation, of indifference, utter defiance, in short 
of every physical sensation being accentuated; and only now, when 
almost every one not sent home wounded has got leave, — leave, the 
official recognition of a state of war prevailing, — only now can the 
man who has been taking part in the war, over whom the days, 
hours, and seasons stole undesired and "uncounted, realize that a bar- 
rier has arisen between the past and ourselves, between Germany 
and the land of war.^ 

This wresting of a man from his home surroundings in the 
way here described is the worst thing of all: it is treason 
against the holy spirit of the German nation, which is worse, 
more unpardonable, and more inexpiable than infidelity to the 

This general truth outweighs in importance any number of 
individual instances. We may consider Kalisz and Louvain 
and everything which has happened in real or alleged franc- 
tireur warfare as justified by existing necessities, but the de- 
cisive fact is this, that war confronts human beings with situa- 
tions in which they must act inhumanly. This is the inevit- 
able result. 

As an example of such a situation, the refusal of quarter 
may be mentioned. It is an absolute fact that as long ago 
as the Boxer Rising the password was officially issued, *'No 
quarter. ' ' In the present war this, in fact, was referred to by 
Prince Rupprecht in a famous order of the day; and it is 

1 Xote how Hollander bears out what has been already said about war 
beginning to exert its mental and moral effects just when a man re- 
turns home. 


now so generally known that Professor Jastrow/ for ex- 
ample, concludes that the reason why the Germans did not 
make more prisoners was that *'our men do not like making 
Englishmen prisoners. ' ' 

Even though it be urged that **no quarter'^ is a painful 
and unavoidable necessity, this nowise alters the fact that 
such necessity is brutalizing. It might indeed be sophistical ly 
argued that it is permissible to kill an enemy in battle be^ 
cause he voluntarily presents himself, and thus he is only 
receiving the treatment he perhaps, after all, desires. Never- 
theless, in the refusal of quarter even this apparent justifica- 
tion vanishes, for if any one asks for parole, he gives it 
plainly to be understood that in so doing no one has any 
longer a right to kill him and then say that this was done with 
his tacit consent. The refusal of quarter, therefore, whatever 
military justification there mmj appear to he for it, is beyond 
all doubt in principle the most serious of all crimes against 
human dignity. 

This disregard for human life, however, is only one bad 
aspect of war, albeit the worst. The conception of property 
is likewise abolished. A friend of mine, a thoroughly re- 
spectable person, who used never to keep so much as a book 
which was not his, ended one of his letters by saying that "he 
must stop now, for he had to go commandeering, which used 
commonly to be called stealing in Germany/^ It is just his 
innocent way of expressing what in soldiers' slang is gen- 
erally ** provisioning,'' which shows that the writer had lost 
aU consciousness that such actions might in certain circum- 
stances be wrong. 

Even the old German poet Friedrich von Logan ^ says of a 
soldier in the Thirty Years' War: 

i"Eine Lehre aus der Zahl unserer Gefangenen" ("Lessons to be 
Drawn from the Number of our Prisoners") by Professor J Jaslrow. 
"Vossische Zeitung," No. 308, of June 19, 1015. 

- Logau, "Sinnegediehte," ("Poems of the Senses"), quoted in Les- 
sing's essay on Logau. 


Keinem hat er was gestohlen, 
Denn er nahm es unverhohlen, 
Was er von der Strasse klaubet, 
1st gefunden, nicht geraubet. 

(Roughly: "He stole nothing from any one: he just simply took 
it. What he picked up in the street was found, not robbed.") 

An officer enlightened me as to the technicalities of ** pro- 
visioning. '' **You go into a shop and ask the price," he said, 
*'at the same time, for the sake of clearness, pointing with 
your revolver at the object you want to buy or at the seller. 
'A penny for that?' you say, and everything is honorably paid 

Enough of this, however. The wrong is much less in the 
action itself than in the fact that all this is considered neces- 
sarily part and parcel of a "lively, merry war." Once more 
to quote old Logau, who has hit the right nail on the head : 

"Huren, Saufen, Spielen, Fluchen 
Heisst dem Mut Erfrischung suehen." 

(Roughly: "Whoring, drinking, gaming, cursing — that's what is 
called bucking up a man's courage.") 

Every masterful impulse must perforce tend toward tyranny 
and bnitalization, whenever the power is in the hands not of a 
master, but of a slave. And the great majority of mankind 
are, after all, not masters. 

4. — The Universal Change of Attitude 
§ 45, — The Enemy's Motives 

"Side by side with the war on the battle-field there raged 
in Europe a war of words, or, more correctly, a pen-and-ink 
war. This war is being carried on by people who have man- 
aged to insure the safety of their own skins and property. 
True, the newspaper scribe does nothing but toss inoffensive 
piles of paper at the printer's devil; but on this long-suffering 


paper he blackguards his adversary, derides him, and does 
his best to put him in a contemptible light. ' ' ^ 

In this he succeeds only too well, and the newspapers of 
1914-15 ^ have assuredly poisoned more harmless civilian 
souls with hatred for all time than the war itself has done. 
In itself this is not surprising, for as even Jean-Paul ^ said, 
* ' in the longest peace men do not say so many false and fool- 
ish things as in the shortest war"; but it is none the less 
regrettable, because the abyss created between the feelings of 
the different nations remains. Men die, and others take their 
places. The old cathedrals, destroyed by shells, cannot, it is 
true, be rebuilt, though they can be restored. But as for the 
outrages perpetrated upon the soul of the nation, they will 
be part of the heritage of posterity, and all the more so be- 
cause of late hatred of foreigners has been preached even in 
schools. The ecclesiastical and educational department of his 
Majesty the Kaiser's Government at Frankfort-on-the-Oder 
issued a circular appealing directly to the school inspectors 
under it "not to tolerate any efforts to prepare the way 
for future conciliation between civilized nations." "What is 
aimed at is clearly a country shut in not merely commercially, 
but also intellectually. 

At all events, the press has left no stone unturned in order 
to disseminate hatred and thirst for vengeance, all which is 
bad for Germany and her aspirations to become the heart of 
the world, which might perhaps come to pass; but the heart 
of the world must be able to love. 

The extraordinary thing was that to simply no one did 
it occur, obvious as this is: that our enemies see the world in 
a different light from ourselves ; that from their point of view 
there is as much justification for Panslavism and the British 

1 Quoted from "Danzers Armeezeitung." 

2 Owing to the severity of the German censorship, which exceeded 
anything in any previous war, the decent papers could scarcely do any- 
thing, at any rate could not make their influence felt. 

3 "Friedspredigt an Deutschland" ("A Peace Sermon to Germany") 
by Jean-Paul Richter: Heidelberg, 1808, p. 54. 


Empire as for the Germans and their demand for a place in 
the sun ; that for France the reconquest of her lost provinces 
and revanche are national problems, just as the reincorpora- 
tion of Alsace once was for Germany; that Belgium might 
fight against Germany, and Serbia and Montenegro against 
Austria, with the same sacred zeal for their country as the 
Tj^rolese or Lutzow's Black Troops once did; and finally that 
the Italians' greater sympathy for the French, who are related 
to them by blood, simply means that here national ideas have 
won a decisive victory over medieval dynastic diplomatic arts. 
Or is it possible that the Germans were really already so 
greatly intoxicated by their own superiority as to deny other 
nations any right to an independent nationality ? 

Thus biassed opinions arose concerning our enemies' reasons 
for having entered the war. Indeed, it is not to be wondered 
at if the great mass of people throughout Germany accepted 
these opinions, and they can hardly be blamed for having 
done so, since they were only repeating the views of those they 
were accustomed to regard in childlike trust as their leaders. 

Now, England was bound to enter the war, legally bound, 
by her solemn pledge of 1839 and morally bound by the fa- 
miliar terms of the Entente; yet it was said of her that, as 
Hermann Bahr, a German journalist, put it, she was making 
war only *' because selfishness and mercenary instincts are 
stronger than ties of blood and sense of what is right and 
proper.'-^ As long ago as September 13, 1870, France, 
through the mouthpiece of Ernest Renan, had announced her 
intention of waging a war of revenge, with Russia and Eng- 
land as her allies. Yet no one believed she had anj^ patri- 
otic feelings, but every one said the war had been hatched by 
a gang of unscrupulous politicians. 

Again, nobody believed that the Russians meant to defend 
Serbia, and even such obvious reasons for war as Panslavism 

1 Cf. also the speech delivered by Professor Karl Rathgens in Ham- 
burg. In his opinion the only real reason for the war was "England's 
reprehensible policy, which aimed at capturing German trade." 


and desire for expansion toward the sea were simply pooh- 
poohed. It was thought that the Russian people, without 
knowing why, had been driven into the war by the grand ducal 
party only ; in short, led like * ' a lamb to the slaughter. ' ' 

Impartially considered, the behavior of small states such 
as Serbia and Belgium was admirable, but the abuse heajDed 
on both of them was indescribable. Scarcely any one would 
so much as mention the fact that in Italy, especially since the 
Berlin Congress, the Irredenta had become a power in the 
land; but every one kept on harping on the small, but noisy, 
and, it was insinuated, even venal, minority, representing the 
whole war as having been brought about by the influence of 
England's gold.^ 

Similarly with regard to neutrals, whose sympathies are 
not even gladly and gratefully accepted as a valuable offer- 
ing, but are peremptorily demanded as a moral right. For a 
neutral to be hostile to us seems to us neither more nor less 
than immoral. Thus the **Kolnische Zeitung'' ^ for instance, 
infers from the phrase so often heard in Belgium even before 
the war, **nos sympathies sont vers la France/' that *'in gen- 
eral the Belgians have a strange conception of the word neu- 
trality." Even about America and the Balkan States we 
have very often read that their sympathies for the Western 
powers are foolish and criminal, and really positive treach- 
ery to — ^well, to what? 

This absolute lack of comprehension of our enemies' motives 
ought to be all the more regretted by a German because the 
power of just appreciation was once the national virtue by 
which he set chief store. 

iWhen Dr. Nicolai wrote this chapter Prince Lichnowsky's revela- 
tions had, of course, not been published, nor is it probable that he knew 
anything of the Journal of Dr. Muehlon, formerly one of the directo's 
of Krupp^s works. Both these undoubtedly historical publications, 
however, entirely bear him out. — Translator. 

2"Belgiens Neutralitat" in the *'Kolnische Zeitung" of August 26, 
1914, No. 959. 


§ 46. — Defective Sense of Responsihility 

We, on the other hand, expect neutral and even enemy for- 
eign countries to understand and rightly appraise our motives, 
although some of them are even now by no means obvious. 
For instance, we expect them to see that a military exemption 
which brought in thousands of millions was not a threat of 
war ; that the invasion of Luxemburg and Belgium was a ne- 
cessity, and so on and so on. 

Does any one really believe that our alliance with Turkey 
is everywhere approved? Think of Graf Platen.^ When the 
Venetian Doge Leonardo Loredano remarked: **We do not 
want to owe our victory to the Turks* fists,'' he replied: 
** Certainly a splendid policy for the Venetians, and one which 
ought to be held up to the Germans of 1813 as a model,'* a 
reply that now sounds almost prophetic. 

Equally one-sided are the attempts to divest ourselves of 
the responsibility for the war, and saddle other nations there- 
with. It is, after all, only natural that no one should admit 
having begun ; but it is nevertheless a fact that of twenty-six 
* * sovereign ' ' states in Europe sixteen ^ are now at war or hope- 
lessly implicated in the war. That is, of the 450 million nomi- 
nal Europeans, 390 millions, or eighty-seven per cent., are 
actually at war, and only the very inconsiderable remainder 
have their armies '' peacefully mobilized." And not a soul 
will accept the slightest responsibility for all these millions 
being thus up in arms against one another; and furthermore, 
as proof of their innocence, every one continues inciting others 
to war. 

The attempt to represent the adversary as solely responsible 
for the war is, impartially considered, an incitement. The 

1 "Die Liga von Cambray," by August Count von Hallermund-Platen. 
1830, Note 8. (Count von Platen, 1796-1835, German poet, is now 
chiefly remembered by his lyric poetry.) 

2 Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, England, France, Greece, Italy, Lux- 
emburg, Monaco, Montenegro, Austria, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Tur- 
key, and Hungary; and when this book appears, who can tell how many 
more there may not be? 


charge of ''having begun" was leveled fairly indiscriminately 
at any and every adversary, although, as can be psychologically 
explained, the latest adversary was generally stated to be the 
worst ; and it was perhaps only England ■ s ill luck that it was 
a comparatively long while before any one else declared war 
after she did. A delightful instance of how dogs always bite 
the last man was afforded by that excellent Austrian writer, 
Baron Leopold von Chlumecky,^ who, ten months after the out- 
break of war, but precisely ten days after Italy's declaration 
of war, discovered that ** Italy is responsible for the World 

Now, it might certainly be said that words do not matter 
so much, and that if one nation insists on considering itself 
altogether better, more righteous, and less responsible for a 
war than another nation, this does not do very much harm. 
The harm, however, consists in the fact that a nation which 
denies its share in the responsibility for the war will also do 
nothing against war. Each nation believes, and believes seri- 
ously, that the other nation has attacked it and will attack it 
again in the future. Consequently, it also believes that the 
only way to ward off war is to pile up armaments. 

Thus even this indirect effect of war tends to strengthen the 
anti-social side of a nation's character; and indeed it cannot 
be otherwise with all effects of war. No improvement can re- 
sult unless and until every individual man and every nation 
assumes his or its due share of responsibility, and endeavors 
to correct his or its defects. Whether this is possible, and how, 
will be discussed in Part III of this book. An essential pre- 
liminary condition, however, is that the different nations 
should not continue to be so distressingly blind as each one is 
to shovel all responsibility on to the others. This alarmingly 
great lack of sense of responsibility would disappear of itself 
if once a responsible European association were established; 

1 "Die Agonie des Dreibimdes — das letzte Jahrzehnt italienischer Un- 
treue" (*'The Death-throes of the Triple Alliance: the Last Ten Years 
of Italy *s Bad Faith") by Bjaron Leopold von Chlumecky, 1915. 


for the saying that '*as thy day is, so shall thy strength be*' 
virtually amounts to this, that on whomsoever responsibility is 
placed becomes himself responsible. 

But if the sense of responsibility is destroyed by proclaim- 
ing that ** everything is allowable in war if you are only strong 
enough to enforce it, ' * this causes the individual human being 
to degenerate and to swerve from his true destiny. 

§ 47. — Insults and Libels 

Even Hume says : ^ 

When our own nation is at war with any other, we detest them 
under the character of cruel, perfidious, unjust, and violent: but 
always esteem ourselves and allies equitable, moderate, and merciful. 
. . . The treachery [of our commander] we call policy; his cruelty 
is an evil inseparable from war. In short, every one of his faults 
we either endeavor to extenuate or dignify it with the name of that 
virtue which approaches it. 

This was written two hundred years ago, but although na- 
tions to-day have far more opportunity of getting to know 
one another, things do not seem to have altered, save that there 
is no longer a Hume to scoff at them or a George III to ap- 
point any such scoffer under-secretary of state.^ 

No, hatred and lying have become holy; and no effort is 
spared to proclaim hate and contempt as brutally as possible, 
whether by means of derisive proclamations dropped by air- 
men (often strongly reminiscent of the "heroic speeches" of 
the Trojan War), or by official proclamations. Discerning 
persons may merely smile at these, but by the people they are 
believed; and for a long time a great many really did look 
upon their enemies as contemptible, inferior, and divided 
among themselves. Reports of revolutions in Odessa and Paris 
and of risings in India, Egypt, Ireland, and the South African 
Union were readily believed ; but when the enemy in his turn 

1 David Hume's "Treatise of Human Nature," 1740, II, 2, 3. Part 
dealing with love and hate. 

2 Hume was for a short time under-secretary of state in 1763. — ^Trans- 


reported (with equally slight justification) revolts in Berlin, 
this was considered despicable. 

The British Army was supposed to be just a parcel of riff- 
raff, with nothing better to show for themselves th^ "speed 
records in running away" and who pinned all their faith 
to stone-throwing Basutos or Afghans with their clubs. 

As for the Russians, their army was supposed to consist 
mainly of ' ' cowardly deserters, ' ' their shells to be ' ' filled with 
sand," and their tins of preserves with *' straw," while their 
commissariat officers were described as thieves and rogues. 
As for the French, they had only an army of ** children and 
old men," who went about in *' patent-leather boots with holes 
in them. ' ' The Serbians were demoralized ; they had no sup- 
plies and no ammunition, and were only too glad to be made 
prisoners by the Austrians. As for the Belgians, they were 
represented only as rascally freebooters. 

Then followed a whole series of calumnies, some of them 
the traditional ones in use from time immemorial, some of 
them new ones, often absolute inventions, but also sometimes 
containing a grain of truth, albeit mostly a quite harmless 
grain. Probably every war since the thirteenth century has 
begun with the ever-successful attempt to persuade the masses 
that their wicked enemy has been poisoning wells,^ only it 
would be difficult to prove that in former wars even university 
professors helped to disseminate such rumors! In view of 
the prevalent dread of bacilli, it is easy to understand why at 
this time cholera germs should have been fixed upon ; but as a 
medical man, I can scarcely say I am delighted that this un- 
savory business should have been laid to the charge of French 

It was easy enough to explain why the Russians afterward 
leveled similar accusations against the Gei-mans; for a gen- 

1 Maria Theresa, for instance, wrote on July 22, 1778: "It is said 
that near London a Bohemian has been hanged who was carrying ar- 
senic on him for poisoning wells. This would be the last straw." 


eral ^ who did not know that the great numbers of vials con- 
taining cholera bacilli to be found in German military hospitals 
were used for inoculations against disease, had jumped to the 
conclusion that the Germans must be using them to poison 

And now for the gouged-out eyes. In all military hospitals 
they were said to have been seen. Here, again, it is possible 
that those who first spread the report acted in good faith, and 
may have been misled, for instance, by the frequency of in- 
juries to the intersection of the optic nerve, which results in 
absolute blindness. But except for a very short time these 
slanderers must have known better; for the most careful in- 
vestigations were instituted in Germany by Provost Dr. Kauf- 
mann ^ of Aix-la-Chapelle and by an anonymous writer on 
the staff of the "Vorwarts"; and in Austria, where the Serbi- 
ans were alleged to have done the same thing, by Professor 
Karl Brockhausen of Vienna. The last named even offered 
a reward of fifty kronen for any information as to an au- 
thenticated case of a German or Austrian whose eyes had been 
gouged out, yet not one such authenticated case was brought 
to light. Energetic measures ought then to have been insisted 
upon to prevent legends of this sort arising; but nothing was 
really done, and large portions even of the educated German 
public still believe that in Belgium German soldiers had their 
eyes gouged out.' 

1 Cf. General Gilinsky's proclamation. 

2 Letter from Dr. Kaufmann, Provost of the Collegiate Church, to 
the "Kolnische Zeitung" of Sept. 28, 1914. 

3 At the end of August or beginning of September, 1014, a Swiss 
hotelkeeper, a German by birth and a Swiss by naturalization only, 
showed me a letter which he had received from Diisseldorf, and the 
writer of which said that he with his own eyes had seen forty men in a 
German hospital (1 think that of Diisseldorf) whose eyes had been 
gouged out by the Belgians. I asked this hotelkeeper whether he really 
believed this. "Oh, of course I do," he said. At the time such letters 
as this were being received by certainly hundreds and probably thou- 
ands of Swiss people with friends, relatives, or acquaintances in Ger- 


Again, in Denmark and elsewhere Belgian children are said 
to have been exhibited whose eyes the Germans were alleged 
to have gouged out : and even if from here it is not so easy to 
test such statements as it was to investigate allegations about 
what was done in Germany, yet it may be at once assumed 
that in all probability this is another instance of malicious 

That persons have been seen with their hands crushed or per- 
haps cut off is possible, although definite information on this 
point is not obtainable; but that Russians and Belgians sys- 
tematically mutilated children in this way is something which 
no one ought to believe and no newspaper write and publish 
without having first convinced themselves of its truth. 

In the case of the English nurse whose breasts were stated 
to have been cut off by the Germans it was afterward shown 
how such reports arise. An English court of justice, to which 
we ought to be grateful for having traced this calumny to 
its origin, was able to prove that this particular nurse suf- 
fered from incurable cancer of the breast. 

There is even a grain of truth in the statement published in 
all the newspapers that the enemy incorporated convicts in 
their armies; for in every nation it is the custom when war 
breaks out, as on all other ceremonial occasions, to grant an 
amnesty to those convicted of comparatively venial offences. 
A similar charge, familiar to us from former wars, arose in 
similar fashion. 

In East Prussia a chief forester in charge of a German 
patrol was shot by the Russians. This gave rise to the fable 

Another report, which was also circulated by the Germans a little 
later on, when the first Senegalese troops appeared in France, was that 
the Senegalese soldiers had been seen returning from the front with long 
strings of ears that they had cut off from German soldiers. This story 
I was also told by a Swiss hotelkeeper, who was Swiss by naturaliza- 
tion only and German by birth; and he went so far as to name a cer- 
tain Swiss who had recently returned from England via France and 
had seen these strings of cut-off German ears. I took the trouble to go 
to Lausanne to find this Swiss, but I never could trace him. — Trans- 


that all the foresters in East Prussia had been shot, and a gen- 
eral order by General Marto to that effect was even published, 
and later on a radio telegram of General Rostowski. 

There is, of course, a certain amount of justification for the 
statement as to the enemy disregarding the Red Cross. The 
range of modem cannon usually does not exceed from twelve 
to thirteen miles of country, which is generally very imper- 
fectly reconnoitered, and they must sometimes hit hospitals; 
and if it is nowadays positively dangerous to wear a Red 
Cross armlet, this may be partly accounted for by there being 
really nothing clearly visible to aim at because of the gray 
uniforms worn, so that everything seen to be moving is shot 
at. And the Geneva armlet can be seen a long way off. 

§ 48. — Training to Hate 

The ugly aspect of these calumnies is that on both sides 
they are increasing. Let us assume that behind the front a 
drunken Iroquois kills a captured Mohican.^ If no one is 
any the wiser, there the matter wiU end ; but if it is published 
far and wide among the Mohicans, then the latter will murder 
the next three Iroquois taken prisoner, then the Iroquois, wish- 
ing to be *' justly avenged," will kill all prisoners. Thus, 
owing to its having become known, an isolated action becomes 
general, and thus even in 1914 atrocities were increased 
owing to the one-sided nature of the statements given 

So it was and so it was found to be. Let us even assume 
that the righteous German had none but chivalrous motives 
for taking the field. Now he hears that the enemy sometimes 
kill and sometimes do violence to defenseless women, old 
men and children, and sometimes send them on in front in 
order to protect themselves against German bullets. Next he 
hears that vessels engaged in the dangerous work of mine- 
sweeping are manned by defenseless German prisoners; or, 

1 Not knowing who in this war first committed these atrocities, I 
select this fictitious instance of extinct races. 



as stated in a grand general staff report of May, 1915, that 
the French, when digging trenches, made German prisoners 
stand in a row, thus forming a living wall to protect them 
against German attacks. Next he hears that the Turcos are 
cutting off Germans' heads, and carrying them about in their 
knapsacks as *'war souvenirs," and exhibiting with a yell of 
bestial triumph strings of cut-off noses and ears; that the 
Russians are cutting off German children's hands; that Bel- 
gian girls are gouging out our soldiers' eyes; that the Eng- 
lish want to starve German women and children to death ; that 
the Serbians are assassins, and the Montenegrins sheep-stealers, 
the Italians a pack of scoundrels, and the Japanese half- 
monkeys. In short, he is so overwhelmed by all these mean 
and baseless statements which he hears that, however kindly 
he may be by nature, he must inevitably be convinced that all 
mankind except the inhabitants of the German Empire, the 
Austro-Hungarian monarchy, the Sultanate of Turkey, and 
the territories of the Turko-Tatar Bulgarian people ^ is rotten 
to the core. 

Even if a spark of respect for human nature still contrives 
to persist, our newspapers chime in and tell people of what 
sort of crew mankind really consists. No term of abuse is 
abusive enough to describe the enemy. * * Fliegende Blatter 's ' ' 
old joke about the subaltern who begged the rhinoceros's 
pardon for having just compared it with his recruit Meyer 
has not only been resuscitated in the ** Deutsche Tageszeitung," 
which would not matter, but also in the speeches of German 
professors. The * ' Deutsche Tageszeitung ' ' once remarked that 
to call Russians and Frenchmen swine was insulting the Ger- 
man domestic animal of that name; and Professor Eucken, 
after railing at the English as low Pharisees, adds that such 
a comparison is positively insulting to the Pharisees. Simi- 
larly, Ludwig Dcinhardt says that any one calling Edward 
VII a MepMsiopheles is insulting Goethe. Why Goethe is a 

1 While I am writing this, the Rumanians are trying to make up 
their minds whether they are a lofty or a debased people 


question which will probably have to be dealt with in a chapter 
on the influence of war upon the intellect. 

Even worse things have been said than these, and every one 
who reads the speeches of our German professors must, if he 
take them seriously, come to the conclusion that we are wag- 
ing war upon brutes, and that consequently the majority of 
human beings are beasts. Whoever thinks thus, however, 
cannot continue to have any respect for human dignity, and 
the foundations of his own morality are consequently sapped. 

Of course the Germans as a whole do not consist of wholly 
lofty and morally perfect natures any more than does any 
other nation. What has just been said, however, shows very 
clearly that the present war has a brutalizing efiiect upon even 
the most moral human being, and unhappily certain newspap- 
ers intentionally aim at thus brutalizing their readers. For 
instance, llerr Hugo Caeker, war correspondent of the ' * Stettin 
Generalanzeiger, " expressly states that he reports all atroci- 
ties, so as to make an end of ' ' all such fine things as pity. ' ' Is 
this really so desirable? Or was not Mr. H. N. Brailsford 
right when he wrote in the *' Daily News*' of mid-September, 
1914, that long descriptions of atrocities have only one effect 
— to whet the desire for retaliation, and that in time they 
would create a Europe in which there was no longer any 
room for such sentiments as fraternity and humanity. And 
was not Professor Wilhelm Forster ^ also right when he wrote 
as long ago as 1910 that the poisoning of men's imaginations 
and the dissemination of damaging suggestions by too much 
newspaper writing was threatening to become one of the great- 
est dangers to civilized humanity ? 

The first year of the war, indeed, has proved both to have 
been right, and no one can absolve our censorship, in other 
respects severe enough, from the reproach of having intended 
all atrocities to be reported ; for it would be absurd to pretend 
that those at the head of it do not perceive what the ultimate 

1 Professor W. Forstor, "The Daily Keporting of Sensational Occur- 
rences," in "Der Tag," January 19, li)10. 


effect of their measures must be. Now that a censorship exists, 
it is part of the censor's professional duty to realize things of 
this kind. 

Furthermore, was the party truce in Germany alone re- 
sponsible for virtually not a single voice having been raised 
against the press saying : ** We are ashamed that there should 
be German newspapers and German men, officials and others, 
who made bold to resort to such methods, of rendering their 
country an alleged service. Quite apart from the impression 
produced abroad, both among neutrals and among our ene- 
mies, did no one consider the effect which such proceedings 
must have upon the moral sense of our own people ? ' * 

Yes, it will be replied, but the people had to be egged on 
to make them determined to resist to the uttermost. For a 
time this effort may have succeeded, but in the long run it 
failed just because those who instituted this campaign of 
calumny were not far-sighted enough to realize that it would 
also have the indirect effort of driving the enemy to resist to 
the uttermost. Thus the relation between the two belligerents 
has not been changed, and the sole residue of this attempt to 
influence popular feeling is mutual hate and boundless con- 
tempt, which were wholly unnecessary. A certain Dr. Hanns 
Floerke of Munich has even undertaken to collect and publish 
the "Documents of Hate." 

The real sufferer, however, is the people, whom the world 
calls barbarous because their press and their Government 
could not restrain themselves. Even if this epithet may still 
be in general repudiated, yet it must unfortunately be ad- 
mitted that in these last two years we have at any rate become 
much more like barbarians. 

Nothing is now heard about all these infamous deeds, and 
it might be asked why am I unearthing so many ancient and 
already half-forgotten stories? It is a remarkable peculiar- 
ity of man, however, that the conclusions he draws from all 
manner of isolated experiences sink deep into his soul, and 
there persist long after he has forgotten how he ever came to 


such conclusions. They persist, indeed, even if he has admit- 
ted that the basis for them was false.^ Hence my justification 
for recalling what has happened in the recent past. "What I 
meant to convey to my readers was this: **You see, here are 
the reasons for your being so full of hate. You see that 
these reasons were bad, and you yourselves no longer believe 
in them. Now will you not come to the only conclusion pos- 
sible for a logical person, and give up hating? "Will you not 
have courage to think? Believe me, whoever thinks can 
scarcely hate. At any rate, he cannot hate men, but only in- 
stitutions. ' ' 

§ 49. — Training to Lie 

This change of attitude to all old-established conceptions 
must be called a form of mental affection which has seized upon 
a whole people. This was discussed by Herr Albert Moll in an 
article published in the very early days of the war, in which 
he mentions the well-known fact that at times of universal 
excitement even persons who believe themselves to be speaking 
truth in reality bear false witness. He shows how the terrors 
of war, the hatred artificially engendered by government 
against those who began the war, people's desire to help their 
country by accusing the enemy, and many other like tend- 
encies cannot fail to have disastrous effects. He himself un- 
wittingly affords a proof of how apparently omnipresent this 
wholesale insinuation was by being himself unable to perceive 
all these injurious effects except in the case of Germany's 

Herr Albert Moll, I admit, insists that those who signed the 
report of the Belgian Committee of Investigation had certainly 
no reputation for capacity for sifting evidence, and he hints 
that he himself has some notion of how this should be done. 

1 Tn mv work on the reasons for believing in a myogenous theory of 
heart-beats, I gave a concrete and very instructive instance of this. 
This work is in the Library of Anatomy and Physiology, Physiological 
X)epartmeiit, 1910. Page 64 of the separate reprint. 


He may rest assured that no one will assert that he erred con- 
sciously. He, too, will be classed with those "who believe 
they are speaking truth, although their evidence is in reality 
wholly false. ' ' The hypnotizing effects of war, indeed, are ter- 
rible, and no one can be reproached with lying when so many 
others are doing likewise. Oidy no one ought to assert that 
it is good to abandon oneself unconsciously to this frenzy of 

It may be at once admitted that lying is often useful to 
individual men, inasmuch as they can sometimes keep atioat 
owing to a lie, when, had the truth come out, they must long 
ago have gone under. Now, is there any object in keeping 
afloat in this wise? In certain circumstances assuredly there 
is. If a particular human being (or a particular nation) is 
passing through a critical time, and I know that if he can come 
safely through it he will be able to take up his life again 
energetically and perfectly normally, then I may try to help 
him by a lie ; and although this is perhaps not morally right, 
yet it is justifiable on considerations of general humanity. As 
every one knows, doctors very frequently do something of this 
sort, but it is plain that there must be some unselfish consid- 
eration at stake, for whoever lies in his own interest is simply 
a liar and nothing else. 

Now, the Government holds that it, like a skilful physician, 
is entitled to tell the people lies, and therefore it has always, 
and particularly during the war, endeavored to defend official 
methods of reporting events. Over and over again we have 
been told that we had been forced into a critical position, in 
which, to use the "technical expression,*' we must **hold out*' ; 
and in such circumstances, it was added, there was only too 
much justification for lying being considered allowable. The 
belief prevailed that the people would be capable of more re- 
sistance if they had no suspicion of the true state of affairs; 
and it was therefore considered justifiable to prevent their 
becoming acquainted with the situation. War is thus a train- 
ing in lying, and every conceivable subsidiary moral purpose 


vanishes, since this lying is done solely for the benefit of our- 
selves and our own nation. 

The demoralizing effects of this lying are most strongly 
marked in the case of the stay-at-home civilian population. 
The soldier is less injuriously affected, for those who are 
confronted with facts must face them in a manner both prac- 
tical and to some extent, therefore, truthful. When the sol- 
dier at the front sees how his enemy also dies for hi§ cause, 
he learns to respect him. He may and probably ought to 
think himself and his fellows better soldiers than the enemy; 
but he is compelled by the severity of the struggle not very 
seriously to underrate the latter. While in Germany the 
enemy was still being blackguarded, the first news arrived 
from the front. It mentioned how skilled were the Russians 
in subterranean warfare, how perfect was their equipment 
in many respects, and how honestly these * ' Moscovite hordes ' * 
believed in the sacredness of their czar's cause. Tidings also 
came of French bravery, of the doggedness of the British 
and their contempt for death, and of the heroic courage of 
the Serbians. Yet while one soldier was doing justice to the 
other, the newspapers at home went on lying and libeling, 
without reflecting that whoever belittles his enemy belittles his 
own victory, and that, supposing he is defeated, his defeat be- 
comes a disgrace. 

§ 50. — Franc-Tireur Warfare 

There is no more crass instance of the odious and unjust 
ideas about the enemy than the varying judgments passed 
upon franc-tireur warfare. Has it never occurred to any one 
that, while it is an insult to call a man a *' franc-tireur, " yet 
to call him by the German translation of this word ^ is con- 
sidered a compliment? What patriotic German heart does 
not beat faster at the thought of Schill's volunteers in 1807, 
or of Liitzow's volunteers in 1813? W^ho does not consider 
both the shooting of Schill's eleven officers at Wesel on Sep- 

1 FreiacMrler, or volunteer, armed insurgent. 


tember 16, 1809, and the shooting of Andreas Hofer at Mantua 
on February 20, 1810, wicked and tyrannical acts ? ^ Yet these 
men had risen in wrath not only against their arch-enemy Na- 
poleon, but also against their divinely appointed Prussian or 
Bavarian king. 

What was right for the Germans, however, is supposed to 
be wrong for the French and Belgians, whose armed insur- 
gents ^re perpetually referred to as the lowest dregs of hu- 
manity. Thus in his report to the President of the United 
States, his Majesty the German Emperor spoke of being obliged 
to resort to the ''sternest measures*' in order to *' terrify the 
bloodthirsty inhabitants out of continuing their infamous 
acts of murder and violence." And this despite the fact that 
it is not even certain that we are not bound to consider these 
*' defenders of their country" as regular troops. According 
to the Belgian military system, every male citizen between the 
ages of twenty and forty belongs to the *' militia," keeps his 
arms at«home, and is not obliged to wear uniform, but merely 
a badge. And, after all, to be quite honest, who in Germany 
would consider the East-Prussian farmer as the dregs of hu- 
manity were he to seize his rusty rifle and defend his village 
if the Russians invaded the country ? 

What is honorable for us is likewise honorable for the 
enemy ; and if the defense of a country by national armies is a 
sacred cause, it is none the less sacred albeit no uniform is 
worn. Even Georg Herwegh scoffed at such sophistries in 
the foUowi lines about the Greeks: 

Sic taten, was sie mochten, 
Die Frechbeit war enonn, 
Sie siegten, wenn sie focbten, 
Auch ohne Uniform. 

1 That the troops of Schill and Ltitzow were, whenever possible, no 
uniform makes no difference from the point of view of popular senti- 
ment, which is alone under discussion. The Tyrolese did not wear uni- 
form, and as for the Belgians, 1 shall deal with them later on. The 
Tyrolese patriot Andreas Hofer was betrayed to the French, and shot 
by order of Napoleon. — Translator. 


Those for whom Ilerwegh 's name has too demagogic a sound 
may be reminded of good old Riickert's lines: 

Der Bau'r ist nur ein schlechter Schuft, 

Der nach Soldatenhilfe ruft. 

Der Bauer, der sich selbst macht Luft, 

Den Feind, den Schuft, selbst pufft und knufft, 

Der Bauer ist kein schlechter Schuft. 

Here, again, the opinion of the soldier, who, after all, is 
alone exposed to the f ranc-tireurs ' bullets, is vastly the fairer. 
Yet a so-called intellectual, Herbert Eulenberg,^ styling him- 
self a ** representative of intellectual Germany of to-day," ac- 
tually dares to say in his reply to Romain Rolland, * * The Bel- 
gians simply pounced upon the enemy like Paris Apaches, and 
the Lion of Flanders would have utterly disowned such jack- 
als." And Max Hochdorf,^ once an esthete, attributes the 
franc-tireur warfare to nothing but the drinking propensities 
and religious fanaticism of the Belgian peasants. But, on the 
other hand, we find an Austrian officer, writing in ^'Danzers 
Armeezeitung " as follows: *'Take the last enemy-armed in- 
surgent who from mistaken, but profoundly exalted, patriot- 
ism shoots at the Germans from his hiding-place, well aware 
that they will afterward hang him and even burn his whole vil- 
lage. In my eyes such a man ranks far above a newspaper 
scribe blustering away with his bombastic, but worthless and 
meaningless, phrases, and spitting at the enemy, but not 
fighting him." 

This abuse of Belgium is particularly hateful, she being pros- 
trate and unable to defend herself. Her newspapers cannot 
appear, her citizens — those who still live in their own country 
— are silent as the grave, and her archives open to the con- 
queror. We scarcely insist to-day that the victor should be 
magnanimous, but why heap insult on the defenseless ? Even 

1 Herbert Eulenberg, in the "Kolnische Zeitung" of September 17, 
1914, No. 1035. 

2 Max Hochdorf in the "Berliner Tageblatt" of September 9, 1914. 


Caesar said to Ptolemy, King of the Barbarians, who caused 
Pompey to be murdered and then attempted to blacken his 
memory : 

Tout beau ! — Que voire haine, en son sang assouvie, 
N'aille point a sa gloire, il suffit de sa vie. ^ 

§ 51. — War and Art 

It has been said often enough that the human mind finds 
congenial occupation in war and art, and that although a great 
general needs intelligence and character, yet in the main 
everything depends upon his intuitively grasping the situa- 
tion as a whole, which is a task presenting diflSculties un- 
doubtedly calculated to appeal to an artist's nature. Hanni- 
bal, Frederick II and Napoleon are constantly being consid- 
ered as artists, and their battles as works of art. 

No doubt there is much to be said for this point of view, and 
a great deal might be urged concerning the connection be- 
tween the "art of war" and other forms of art. For our 
present purpose, however, this connection is of no impor- 
tance, the one question concerning us being whether and to 
what extent war affects the various forms in which art finds ex- 
pression, and whether this influence is good or bad. It will 
be seen to be in any case very slight, and in virtually every 
instance in which it can be traced it can be shown to be de- 

Nevertheless, it is artists whose enthusiasm for war has 
generally been aroused more quickly than that of the members 
of any other liberal profession. Or, rather, they are the first 
to appear enthusiastic, because persons of an artistic tempera- 
ment are accustomed to give freest play to every impulse of 
the moment. Even Rabelais ^ says jestingly that the Latin 
word helium is perhaps connected with the French word helle. 

Probably no one believes it, but there are still people who 

1 Cornell le, "La mort de Pomp^e," 1642. 

2 Francois Rabelais, "Gargantua et Pantagruel," Livre II Prologue 


say and write that war and the national enthusiasm it creates 
have caused art to blossom forth. True, this has not always 
been asserted, for Mars and the Muses used to be represented 
as opposites. Here, again, Germany has contrived to set the 
fashion. Every one knows how Erich Schmidt not merely 
curried favor in court circles, but even acquired Scherer's 
professorial chair by showing that Frederick II, who used to 
murder the German language, and his Seven Years' War were 
the creator of German literature; and since this doubtful 
achievement, which Mehring ^ in one of the best pamphlets in 
the world, reduced to its proper proportions, this glorifica- 
tion of the influence of war on literature has become fashion- 
able. In reality, there is no sign of anything of the sort; 
and as regards lyrics and poetry I purpose to prove this in 
dealing with war poetry.^ Here, however, I will confine my- 
self to a few remarks about the plastic arts. 

Not many words need be wasted on the subject of battle- 
pictures, beloved of crowned heads and the terror of directors 
of picture galleries. In olden times, when hand-to-hand fight- 
ing still took place, there might have been something in a battle 
to inspire an artist. The "Gigantomachy" and *'The Battle 
of Alexander," for instance, are undoubted works of art,* 
which possess a value of their own, apart from their subject. 
In the time of the great Flemish painters fine figures of war- 
riors engaged in hand-to-hand fights were still painted. 
Some of Rubens 's battle-pictures are magnificent, but even 
in his time it was the animal painter Wouwerman * who was 
most famous as a "battle-painter." For him a battle-picture 

1 Franz Mehring, "Die Leasing- Legende, eine Rettimg," Stuttgart, 

2 See § 182-185 

3 Whoever would fain realize the value of one such battle-picture 
should lose himself in contemplation of Michael-angelo's Florentine 
battle cartoon of 1504, which, just because it was a w^ork of art, was so 
far from pleasing those for whom it was executed, who wanted a battle- 

4 Philip Wouwerman, 1619-1668, was born at Haarlem, and is espe- 
cially famous now as a painter of horses. He had two brothers, whom 


afforded an opportunity of showing his white horses to ad- 
vantage, just as Terborch ^ in his pictures of soldiers thinks 
only of showing of what fine material the foot-soldiers' trous- 
ers were made, with which fact, as a painter, he is somewhat 

Then came the period of powder-and-smoke pictures, which 
we are almost tired of hearing derided; and then the end of 
the battle-picture proper had come. Any pictures of this kind 
which have since been painted were produced not for their 
own sake, but because they were patriotic in character ; and it 
is no mere chance that not a solitary one of these patriotic 
pictures has proved to be a real, original work of genius. The 
old masters who painted the gold-framed Madonnas were 
likewise inspired thereto by their subject, and how fine an 
achievement was theirs ! Apparently it is true that the great 
artists' minds were dominated by a desire to express their 
conception of the Virgin, and the small minds only by enthusi- 
asm for battles. 

)Vo one, moreover, has ever been carried away by the con- 
ception of a battle as such, for the few notable nineteenth- 
century battle-pictures were painted only when men's feel- 
ings had been stirred by some special event. Two periods 
can be distinguished, the French or Napoleonic period, and 
the German period about 1870. The following painters be- 
long to the former: Antoine-Jean Gros (1717-1835), Horace 
Vernet (1789-1863), Ernest Meissonier (1815-1891), and 
Raffet (1804-1860). It is worthy of note, however, that Jean 
Gros's most famous picture, *^Les Pestiferes de Jaffa/* (Na- 
poleon contemplating those stricken with plague at Jaffa) 
shows the emperor just at a time when he is doing something 
which has no connection with war. 

he taught and who were both artists, the one a landscape-painter and 
th«( other a painter of landscapes and canals. — Translator. 

1 Gerard Terborch or Terbiirg was a Dutch painter born at Zwolle. 
His great characteristics are accuracy and finish. His portrait, as a 
town councilor of Deventer, is in the Hague Picture Gallery. — Trans- 


Among German war-painters may be mentioned Wilhelm 
Camphausen (1818-1885), Carl Bleibtreu (1829-1892), An- 
ton von Werner (1843-1915), Arthur Kampf (1867). Carl 
Rochling (1855-1912), and Adolf von Menzel (1815-1905). 
As every one knows, Adolf von Menzel is the only one of these 
who is of any importance, and he drew his inspiration not from 
the glorious campaign through which he himself went, but 
from the .vanished beauty of the Frederiekian world. 

Even allowing that here and there a painter of genius has 
felt interested in great generals, nevertheless painting un- 
questionably owes virtually nothing to war as war, at any 
rate nothing which can be compared with what art owes to 
Christianity. When we come to such a thoroughly social 
art as architecture, we find that it owes even less to war than 
does painting. The famous "barracks-like'' style of building 
is a synonym for a monotonous style. That soldiers, more- 
over, even now live in tents or earthen huts, at any rate when 
really on active service, is only another proof of the conserva- 
tive and retrogressive nature of war. 

Beyond this there is really hardly anything to be said about 
the direct connection between war and art, for it is scarcely 
worth while mentioning the beautifully ornamented cannons 
of the so-called baroque period. Neither does the present war, 
despite all the enthusiasm about it, seem as if it meant to do 
much for art, although it affords no lack of possibilities of in- 
spiration. As we all know, in its early days numbers of 
photographers and cinematograph-operators were ordered to 
the front, for those in command thought it would be a fine 
thing afterward to rattle off a series of victories even faster, 
if possible, than they had been won.^ But even the cinema- 
tograph system, like so much else, was found to require modi- 
fication. It was soon perceived to be a mistake to have to rely 
upon reproducing scenes with photographic fidelity; and in 
order to lend the desired life to ' ' empty battle-fields, ' ' a num- 

1 For instance, at the beginning of the abortive attack on Verdun, in 
February, 19 


ber of artists were dragged to the seat of war. By means of 
judicious instructions and discreet censoring it was not diffi- 
cult to insure the pictures of these gentry fulfilling reason- 
able patriotic demands far better than photographs ; but only 
a very few of the artists taken to the front could be made to 
produce pictures which, even from the artistic point of view, 
were superior to the old photographs. This result may seem 
regrettable, but, at all events, it proves that though war may 
be able to make painting^ more patriotic, it is not able to 
make them more artistic, about which opinions will differ 
according to what each person expects from art. 

Now, these artistic gentry, whose names I do not wish to 
mention, really did see something of war. They had free 
access to all battle-fields, no matter how inaccessible these 
were rendered by barbed-wire entanglements and other de- 
fense works. Motor-cars were provided for them; they were 
shown lacerated limbs and dead horses, men frozen to dtath 
in the Carpathians and other drowned in the Masurian Lakes. 
They could hear the roar of the famous motor batteries, and 
even, fortune favoring them, of the still more famous 42 's. 
Hindenburg and Mackensen, however unlike they might oth- 
erwise have been, resembled each other in having each found 
time to sit to them. In short, they were made free of all the 
beauty and greatness which modern war has to offer. And 
with what result? None, except for the fact that we possess 
no published pictures in which more German than enemy 
dead can be counted. At best some of the better sort of 
artists felt a little ** seedy ^* afterward. 

Thus does war transform all our notions of truth, goodness, 
and beauty ; but it does not improve them. 


The Chosen People 

1. — the advantage nations ake alleged to derive from 


§ 52. — The Injury to the World in General 

If war is to be considered as an episode in the struggle for 
existence, then success in it would have in some way or other 
to benefit not merely a single nation, but mankind as a whole. 
That is, it must somehow promote man's welfare or comfort 
or further his intellectual or material advancement. Hence 
every grain of corn harvested, everj^ new kind of lamp in- 
vented, every method of production which saves human 
strength, everything which human labor or human genius 
creates for the use of man, benefits the world in general. 
Every grain of corn will feed some human being, every lamp 
will give some one light some evening, and every improvement 
in labor-saving machinery will afford him free time and leisure 
for self-improvement. 

But war creates nothing substantially valuable. Possibly 
a war may once have enabled some nation to get some good out 
of life which it could not otherwise have procured, just as 
pocket-picking may have done for some person. This, how- 
ever, cannot have happened often, and in any case the victor 
cannot increase his well-being by more than the amount which 
the vanquished loses by being deprived of the reward due to 
him for his labor. At best, therefore, war may cause a trans- 
ference of well-being, but assuredly not an increase of it, 
quite apart from the fact that in general the less capable, but 



physically stronger, person is favored at the expense of those 
who are more capable, but weakly. 

In reality the results are still more deplorable, for war 
destroys what is substantially valuable. Houses are shot to 
pieces, crops ruined, and human beings killed ; but nothing of 
the sort is produced. Hence, however much transference of 
well-being there may be, the balance is on the wrong side, even 
if, as Karl "Weber ^ says, **a few ministers, tradesmen, and 
Jews'* may make handsome profits. Consequently not only 
war itself, hut also all work connected therewith, is a waste of 
energy from the outset. Moreover, we ought to reflect that 
whoever produces anything useful enables others to rest, but 
whoever destroys anything useful obliges others to replace or 
regain it. 

The few who gain by war, however, who are mostly also 
those who give the lead, have only too frequently no interest 
whatever in preventing war. Even in a very unsuccessful war 
they hardly stand to lose much. Whatever happens, they are 
the gainers, and they it is who make wars. Bismarck once 
said : ^ " The majority are usually not at all inclined for 
war. War is kindled by minorities, or, in absolute monarchies, 
by rulers or cabinets," which is self-evident. What is sig- 
nificant, however, is that Bismarck should have said this, for 
these words ^ prove him to have been convinced that, if the 
peoples could always have their own way, there would be 
no more wars. At any rate, only the people in general have a 
real interest in making an end of war ; and if this is ever to be 
done, then the peoples absolutely must take matters into their 
own hands. 

iKarl Weber: "Demokrit oder hinterlassene Papiere eines lachenden 
Philosophen : Abschnitt iiber den Krieg." ( "Democritus, or the 
posthumous papers of a laughing Philosopher. Chapters Dealing with 

2 Bismarck's speech in the Reichstag on February 9, 1876. 

3 Kant once made a similar observation, but in the form of a definite 
claim. "To obtain peace the form of government ought to be republi- 


No one need imagine that Hague Conferences summoned by 
Russian or other absolute monarchs will ever make seriouK 
efforts to insure peace. None save those interested in the 
realization of an idea are in a position to bring it about, and 
as only mankind in general are uniformly interested in an 
end being put to war, only mankind in general will be able 
to effect anything. 

Each individual nation may continue to hope that, with 
the help of exceptionally good cannon, airships, or submarines, 
it will be able to wrest to itself in war some special privilege 
unconnected with labor, and therefore greatly coveted by the 
majority of mankind. Such calculations may or may not be 
correct, and are certainly sufficiently vague. But for the 
world in general it is as clear as daylight, clear beyond possi- 
bility of mistake, that war is bad business. For the world 
in general war means loss. 

When, therefore, the world in general really does wake up, 
then will general and lasting peace be assured. Peace does 
not mean the German *' Empire, '^ or the statics quo, or the 
*'Holy Alliance,'^ or the "European balance of power," but 
international democracy; that, and nothing else. Interna- 
tional democracy need not begin by enforcing peace, but if 
ever it does exist, then it goes without saying that it will not 
be able to subsist without peace. 

§ 53. — The Advantages of War to an Individual Nation 

It is hard to say whether a war has ever helped any na- 
tion to rise. In reality, during the perpetual wars of past 
times, with their vacillating fortunes, every nation has won 
some wars, to which fact its rise might be attributed. Never- 
theless, it is a striking fact, and one which affords food for 
reflection, that the Chinese and the Jews, the only nations 
which have succeeded in holding their own for three thousand 
years, have scarcely ever waged wars, and if they did, were 
invariably beaten. 

It can be positively asserted that never has a nation perished 


because of having been beaten in war. An army of conquer- 
ors in an enemy country can be destroj^ed, even in certain 
circumstances absolutely exterminated, as happened to the 
armies of Hannibal, Teja,^ and Napoleon. But, after all, 
this merely proves that their preceding conquests 'availed noth- 
ing. A city can also be destroyed, and all its inhabitants 
slain ; and the destruction of such a city as Carthage, to which 
large tracts of territory had been in the habit of paying trib- 
ute, produces the impression of the downfall of a great empire. 

No true nation, however, has yet been exterminated by 
war in its own country, although sometimes this may happen 
afterward, for a declining, dying nation will of course lose 
wars. But we must not extend this paradox so as to make 
it mean that a nation which has lost a war is bound to rise 
afterw^ard. At all events, we know with absolute certainty 
that in the case of all nations whose decline we are witness- 
ing to-day, that decline was not caused by war. The red In- 
dians, for instance, did not succumb to bullets, but to brandy 
and disease. Similarly the Malayans are dying out, although 
they have never been conquered. But the negroes, on the con- 
trary, are by no means a declining race; and despite their 
never having won victories, at any rate not in America, they 
are beginning to become a danger there. 

In this very broad sense, therefore, it is certainly not true 
that war operates selection. It was believed, however, that a 
nation could obtain so many advantages through a successful 
war that afterward it would be able to live more easily, and 
consequently to rise. Now, in times long past there were un- 
doubtedly advantages in making war. A savage had only to 
win a victory in order to obtain everything he wanted. From 
his enemies' already prepared fields he could harvest crops 

iTeja (Teja or Teias) was the last king of the East Goths. He 
went to the assistance of his brother Aligern, who was besieged in 
Cumae, and after fighting two months a desperate fight against su- 
perior forces, he fell in 553, and with him the greater part of his men. 
— Translator. 


which he had not sown, stolen herds of cattle supplied him 
with food and clothing, and even his captured enemies were 
useful as slaves. Later on accumulated stores or perhaps 
treasures of gold and silver made war still more profitable. 

Hence so long as wealth consisted solely or, at any rate, 
mainly in accumulated and transportable stores and supplies, 
wars continued to be profitable, and afforded a strong, brave, 
and enterprising people great prospect of success. But now 
the wealth of a person or a nation mainly depends on credit ; 
that is, on the fact that his or its signature to a bill or 
check is always honored. That is, it depends on things which 
are not transportable or there and then transferable. This 
of necessity means that robbery and violence have become 
as uncertain and unprofitable as honest labor was in primitive 
times, for it has become impossible to confiscate wealth. 

Whether this statement, which Norman Angell ^ endeavors 
to prove theoretically, is of quite unlimited application would 
be very difficult to determine. It would almost seem as if, 
at any rate in private life, exploitation still continued profit- 
able throughout the world. Large contractors and large 
landed proprietors everywhere earn vast sums, in part cer- 
tainly by means of labor performed not by themselves, but by 
a thousand others dependent on them ; and many a tchinovik 
still continues plundering, very often according to old and 
time-honored methods. Might not what is possible for the in- 
dividual man, however, be also in time possible for large com- 
munities? The only question, therefore, is whether war is 
really a practical method of personal enrichment. 

§ 54. — The Unprofitableness of War To-day 

From the purely business point of view war is certainly not 
a practical method of personal enrichment; and in view of 
the vast amount of capital swallowed up by a modern war, 
not even the victor can hope ever to see his outlay again. 
If we reckon only the direct expenditure on army and navy, 

1 Norman Angell's "The Great Illusion," Heinemann, 1910. 


together with the loss of valuable work which might have been 
done by the recruits annually called up, and take no account 
whatever of the enormous additional losses caused by con- 
tinued upheaval, we find that since 1870 Germany has spent 
on war and preparations for war a sum which, if capitalized, 
would amount to-day to about two hundred thousand millions.^ 
It is quite obvious that such sums can never be recovered 
either by war indemnities or by an annual tribute. In order 
to collect an annual tribute, indeed, more millions would be 
required for the armies whose duty it would be to wrest the 
tribute from the population.^ 

That there is no pecuniary advantage to be gained even from 
the occupation of territory is also obvious. so long as private 
property is not interfered with, which probably no country 
to-day would either wish to do or be strong enough to do. 
As for stealing public property, commandeering the Bank of 
England reserves, for instance, this would be a harmless pleas- 
antry ; for little would be found, since the basis of a country 's 
wealth is its credit. 

It will perhaps be objected that it might be some advantage 
to a poor nation to occupy a rich country, for the taxes in 
its newly acquired territory would yield such large sums that 
its own taxpayers would be relieved. Let us go to the utmost 
possible length in our assumptions, and suppose, for instance, 
that in the present war the 68,000,000 Germans, who on an 
average pay forty marks per head in taxes, annexed 12,- 
000,000 foreigners (which no one now believes possible), 

1 200,000,000,000 marks, that is, taking the mark at its pre-war value, 
or $50,000,000,000.— Translator. 

2 $50,000,000,000 is probably an underestimate, but my argument 
would be unaffected were the amount only half or one quarter or even 
only one tenth as large. It is a waste of time, therefore, to endeavor to 
rectify these, or any other approximate estimates that may subse- 
quently be cited, in order to make it appear that arguments based 
on them can thereby be rectified. I believe I can confidently assert that 
all figures quoted in this book are able to stand the test of close scrutiny, 
in that they prove what they are meant to prove. If this is not always 
so, then it should be proved. 


and that these 12,000,000 foreigners, if similarly taxed, would 
be able to pay sixty marks each. It is easy to calculate that 
in this case we should actually save 2 marks 79 pfennige in 
taxes; but as the war necessary to enable us to do so would 
impose an additional burden of at least 100 marks on every 
German, then 100 marks would have to be spent to earn less 
than three marks. Consequently, on closer examination, even 
this mode of saving turns out to be a great delusion. 

War, in short, has ceased to be a paying concern. From 
the point of view of natural science, however, this is a matter 
of secondary importance. What Normal Angell has to say on 
this subject is well worth reading. What is more important 
is that war and militarism force a nation on to an absolutely 
wrong tack. This cannot but do harm — ^harm which can, at 
any rate, be partly expressed in terms of pounds, shillings, and 

The construction of fortifications impedes the growth of 
cities and causes land to be withdrawn from cultivation. The 
fact that the state needs strategical railways, and plans its 
railway system accordingly, means that not enough attention 
can be paid to the convenience of railway time-tables. For 
instance, it is military opposition which has hitherto pre- 
vented the electrification of railways and the utilization of 
the water-power of the Alps. Again, the fact that the state 
supports only such industries as may be useful to it in time of 
war causes the labor and abilities of millions of human beings 
to be expended on things which are really superfluous. It 
goes without saying that, owing to the possibility of war, all 
kinds of property must be senselessly accumulated where it 
ought not to be; that whole branches of industry are forced 
into unproductive channels ; and that, owing to continual un- 
certainty, every one in general is hindered in the free and full 
development of his capabilities. 

But setting aside all this enormous loss and injury, let us 
consider only the incontestable facts that about four per cent, 
of the male working population of Germany are permanently 


withdrawn from their work owing to universal service, and 
that about twelve per cent, of her total income is directly ex- 
pended on military objects. This means that war directly ab- 
sorbs, even in peace-time, about one sixth of man's entire ca- 
pacity for work, and that war 's demands are therefore higher 
than those of the church, which, as we know, has been content 
with one tenth. 

Now, even this tenth was admitted to be ruinous, and one 
day, when men look back on the past, what will be said of a 
sixth, which, however, probably amounts to a third, owing 
to the indirect losses entailed ? Were there no longer any risk 
of war, all human beings would need to work from one and a 
half to three hours less per day. That is, their daily leisure 
would be increased by so much. We should then have, at any 
rate, a seven-hours' day, probably even a five-hours' day, and 
what this would mean for the progress of mankind is scarcely 
conceivable. By working harder than formerly, which would 
result in still further saving, these comparatively brief work- 
ing hours could be confined to a single shift; and if a man 
worked in the morning, then he would have the rest of his time 
for physical and mental recreation and improvement. 

These reflections are amply sufficient to show how diametri- 
cally opposed to man's material and intellectual interests are 
the consequences of a state of war prevailing in Europe. 
War forces mankind to do what is unnatural, and fighting 
like animals perpetuates the animal state in man, and makes 
it impossible for him to develop along specifically human 

This means that man's position in nature is not properly ap- 
preciated. We know how much of the animal still lurks in us, 
and for this very reason we ought daily and hourly to assert 
our human qualities. The dying Pascal understood life when 
he wrote, during the years of his long decline : * * II est dan- 
gereux de trop faire voir a I'homme combien il est egal aux 
betes, sans lui montrer sa grandeur. II est encore dangereux 
de lui faire trop voir sa grandeur sans sa bassesse. II est en- 


core plus dangereux de lui laisser ignorer 1 'un et 1 'autre ; mais 
il est tr^s avantageux de lui representer Tun et Tautre." ^ 

Any one who has understood this wonderfully profound 
reflection wili feel it only natural and logical that in another 
passage (VI, 9) Pascal should describe war as a ridiculous out- 
rage on the conception of humanity. 


§ 55. — Necessity for and Advantages of Colonies 

When we speak of colonization we usually do not mean the 
same thing as occupation. "When it is desired to spare a peo- 
ple, then, in accordance with present-day custom, their lands 
are occupied. A colony, on the contrary, is at any rate so far 
new territory that no one minds exterminating the inhabi- 
tants, or else allowing them to live only in a state of inferior- 
ity, such as slavery, for instance. This latter kind of coloniza- 
tion was recently proposed by Herr Delbriick, in ''Das afri- 
kanische Indien.'' This he did because, owing to the heavy 
drop in the German birth-rate, there seemed no prospect of 
any territories outside Germany being settled by a popula- 
tion of German race. We are here once more confronted with 
the primeval law of growth. Everything tends to grow, even 
every community, and if it can no longer do so by natural 
means, it attempts to do so by unnatural means. 

Formerly, when princes alone represented a state, lands 

1 Blaise Pascal, "Pensees," Part I, 7. 

2 In a courageous book on colonies and colonization ( *'Der englische 
Gedanke in Deutschland. Zur Abwehr des Imperialismus," Reinhardt: 
Munich, 1915), the last publication of Ernst Mtiller-Holm, there are 
many noteworthy and therefore "inopportune" sayings; but unfortu- 
nately I was prevented from consulting it. I agree with everything 
Miiller-Holm says about English and German colonizing imperialism, 
only it seems to me that the great change which has come about in the 
last hundred years in the relations between England and her colonies 
has not been sufficiently taken into account. They were once colonies 
to be exploited for imperialistic purposes, but now they are colonies 
attached to the mother country by bonds of sympathy. Later on I 
shall refer to this at greater length. 


were acquired by inheritance, purchase, or marriage, and oc- 
casionally also by war, all which was consistent with the con- 
ditions of law and order then prevailing. Nowadays a nation 
as such is assumed to be entitled to an independent existence 
and likewise to self -representation. Accordingly this tend- 
ency to grow finds expression in an endeavor to make nations 
grow. Strivings after national expansion, however, are quite 
as indefinite as the conception of a nation. In the main a na- 
tion is held together by community of frontiers, race, civiliza- 
tion, and language, and because all its members recognize the 
same frontiers. Now, every person's main desire will be either 
for increased population, extension of the national language, 
improved civilization, or enlarged frontiers, according to which 
of these he considers most important. 

It is now almost generally believed that all these require- 
ments can be satisfied by the acquisition of colonies. They 
would extend the country's frontiers, and afford room for 
more population ; and even if the latter were not there, it 
would nevertheless be attracted eventually by the free space 
afforded by colony. The national language would be spoken 
over a wider extent of territory, and, as is proved by the ex- 
ample of America, a nation cannot fail to profit by the wider 
outlook which must result from its having colonial possessions. 

Undoubtedly there is much truth in these views.^ It is 
easy to understand why every nation should wish to acquire 
new lands for settlement, and it is well that this should be 
so. After all, mankind can progress only by means of the 
selfish, but justifiable, desire to be perhaps not sole victor in 
the struggle for world-domination, but, at any rate, to take 
part in this struggle with some prospect of success. Thus each 
nation hopes that a good deal of its own national civilization 
will be preserved, even if all nations should ultimately be 
absorbed into one universal nation. 

Since this struggle will be virtually confined to civilizations, 
numbers will be of importance, as, for instance, in the strug- 

iCf. Chapter VIII, 4 and X. 


gle for language-mastery. Whoever wishes to have any claim 
even to enter the lists must be able to throw a large number 
of fellow-countrymen into the balance. And as the Germans 
are only one hundredth part of mankind and can claim only 
three thousandths of the earth as their own, they must clearly 
try to expand. 

Now, even those who are fully aware that territorial an- 
nexation is injurious to their own nationality because of the 
admixture of foreign elements still believe that that national- 
ity would be extended by colonization. Most colonies, it is 
true, were acquired for other reasons; and Roscher,^ in his 
famous division of colonies into '* Conquistador, mercantile, 
agrarian, and plantation colonies," never once mentions this 
reason for colonization. But it is no less true that certain 
colonies, particularly in America, Australia, and South Africa, 
have conduced to the spread of European races, even if they 
may not have been originally founded for this purpose. On 
the other hand, other European colonies, of which I inten- 
tionally refrain from citing any instances, have conduced to 
the spread of Mongol races. 

Despite all these events of the past, however, every nation 
can and ought to colonize for the sake of its own expansion ; 
and all the territory in Europe being occupied, we must at- 
tempt to get possession of colonies in foreign countries. All 
this is so obvious as to need no insisting upon. 

§ 56. — Colonial Possessions and Colonial Domination 

The only question is whether conquering a colony is the best 
way to get possession of it. As Jaures once pointed out, co- 
lonial possessions and colonial rule must not be identified, 
** since it is quite possible to possess a co'ony in which we do 
not rule, and vice versa. ' ' ^ 

1 Roacher und Janasch, "Kolonialpolitik und Auswanderung" 
("Emigration and Colonial Policy") : Leipsic, 1895. 

2Jaiir^8, in rex>orting on the rrench colonial estimates in 1911. 
"Journal officiel" of July 2, 1911. 


This distinction between possession and governance is self- 
evident to any one personally acquainted with colonies. It is 
most apparent in farther India, in that border territory for 
which the white and Mongol races are always contending. The 
Malayans were once owners and rulers here; then came the 
white man, anxious to turn the country to good account. But 
as neither he nor the idle Malayans would work, they were 
forced to introduce Chinese coolies. Since then there has been 
a struggle in which Europeans, in their love of easily earned 
profits, let loose Chinese expansion, and thus raised up a 
mighty enemy unto themselves. 

Frenchmen, Englishmen, and Dutchmen strive for the mas- 
tery, and meantime the Chinaman is working his way grad- 
ually up from coolie into proprietor. Indo-China still belongs 
to the French, but the rice-miUs, which are the wealth of the 
country, belong to the Chinese. The Straits Settlements are 
British colonies, but in Singapore the Chinaman is even now 
all-powerful; and whenever it is desired to build English 
schools there, it is the Chinese who have to give the money 
needed, and consequently it is they who really decide matters. 
Over the East Indian archipelago the Dutch flag flies, and 
the Chinaman is sometimes even now cruelly and inhumanly 
treated, but his influence is growing. 

I myself witnessed an incident there which is characteristic. 
A Chinaman and a Dutchman wanted to found a company. 
To the haughty Dutchman the Chinaman appeared a negligi- 
ble quantity, owing to the humble position conferred on him by 
the local legislation. The Chinaman likewise humbly opined 
that he would never venture to diflrer from his lofty partner; 
but he submitted, as even he must keep control of his own 
money, he would beg that a clause might be inserted in the 
agreement to the effect that '^your worship shall have no say 
whatever in the company's affairs." The Dutch judge as- 
suredly had not a light heart when presiding over the con- 
clusion of the agreement, for in Holland the Chinese are 
hated; but there was probably no choice, for his fellow-coun- 


tryman was merely a ''his worship" and the Chinaman the 
''humble proprietor." In the East Indian archipelago the 
Chinese are beginning to be a nation, and the Europeans are 
now merely the ''ruling caste." 

Not even England owns any colony because she one day 
hoisted the Union Jack over it, but merely because people 
live there whose feelings and language are English. The 
British crown can scarcely be said now to own the British 
colonies, but at most nominally to rule them. In the hearts 
of her colonists, however, England lives, and likewise the 
British conception of a world-wide empire. 

Only those capable of tenaciously asserting their national 
characteristics acquire colonies, and only those who know how 
to win friends by just dealings can keep colonies. England 
once made a mistake in this respect, and by her unjust treat- 
ment of New York and Boston she lost the United States. She 
has now learned better, and the very great majority of the 
Boers who, hardly ten years ago, were conquered by ex- 
tremely brutal methods now believe in the justice of England. 
For this reason and not because of any sort of compulsion, 
which in any case England could not exercise, are these colon- 
ies now helping the mother-country ; and America, who showed 
her fist to the Englishman as a ruler, now that her brother is 
in distress, is helping him more and perhaps better than if 
England were governing the United States.^ 

Despite the Star-Spangled Banner flying over Washington, 
America is a British colony in the true sense of the word. 
America is a British possession because in America also the 
Anglo-Saxon idea lives. It is not fair to say that it is all due 
to Yankee love of money-making, although this may have 
something to do with it. But love of money-making is every- 
where. The main point is whether the Americans wish to 
speculate in German or in English stocks; and here unques- 
tionably sentimental and ideal considerations come into play. 

1 It must be remembered that these words were written before 
America declared war on Germany. — ^Translator. 


Whoever possesses the art of colonizing, whoever tenaciously 
clings to the habits and customs of the homeland, has colonies, 
whether he incidentally acquires them, as England has done, 
or whether, like China, he merely conquers them by his labor. 
These two instances afford admirable proof that colonies de- 
pend only upon national character, and not on outward circum- 

If colonies need not necessarily be acquired by force, what is 
necessary is to have immigrants who do not go under in a 
foreign nation, and a form of civilization to which a foreign 
nation becomes attached. If, however, a people does not pos- 
sess this national tenacity, it is useless for it to rule over a 
foreign people or foreign colonies. Despite everything, they 
would still remain foreign possessions. If, for example, the 
Germans could colonize better than the British, they would not 
first need to deprive England of her colonies ; they would be- 
come German without that, even under the Union Jack. 

It is therefore absolutely useless conquering a colony by war. 
If the army of a European military state succeeded in occu- 
pying the United States of America, this would not produce 
much effect unless the entire mode of life and work and the 
laws and rights there were altered. But if all these were 
remodeled in accordance with the principles of a military state, 
then the inhabitants of this stat€ would quite naturally cease 
emigrating thither, since the reason why they emigrated was 
just so as to be able to enjoy American liberty. Thus it might 
well happen that the only result of the military occupation of 
America by a European military power would be that this 
country ^s influence in America decreased. 

It is not surprising that the colonies should afford the clear- 
est proof of how little can be decided by force of arms. The 
competition of the different countries anxious to settle on land 
is necessarily freer in colonies than in old countries ; and, more- 
over, the victory is to the people which proves the fittest, quick- 
est, and most adaptable in the struggle for existence. In 
short, whoever wants to know how genuine victories are won, 


should go and visit colonies, where he may learn something 
which will be useful to him even in the mother-country. 

Let every German who earnestly desires the expansion of 
his own nationality ask himself and answer the following ques- 
tions : 

1. Why did not the Boers help Germany? 

2. Why do the majority of German emigrants go to America 
and to British colonies and not to German colonies? 

3. Why has German trade become so large in all British 
colonies and not in a single German colony? And why has 
it even become large in American colonies, despite the fact 
that some of the latter are younger than German colonies? 

4. Why have the people of Lorraine proved more loyal to 
Germany in this war than the Alsatians, despite the fact that 
Lorraine contains a greater admixture of French elements, 
and despite their having been far more systematically ''Ger- 
manized" than the people of Lorraine? 

5. Why are the Austrian Poles more loyal than those of 
Prussia ? And why did so many Austrian Czechs fail us ? 

Any one once grasping the reasons for these facts will realize 
that national ideas are most deeply ingrained where they are 
most free from any idea of force, and have no connection with 
anything but civilization; that is to say, where the fight is 
carried on with weapons of life and not of death. 


§ 57. — The Victor ^s Empty Laurels 

Deep down in the human mind a notion seems always to 
have lurked that not only is right often on the side of the 
vanquished, but also that it is they who mostly benefit from 
the fight. It is, to say the least, astonishing that the legend of 
Rome as ruler of the world did not father itself upon a victori- 
ous people, but upon the Trojans, the most famous of all van- 
quished peoples. The only inhabitant of the populous city of 
Ilion to escape the murderous sword of the Greeks was iBnea§ 


(according to others, Antenor as well), but the father avenged 
this one and only descendant, and victorious Greece became 
a province of the sons of the conquered sons of Troy. 

Not many such legends, of which the moral is generally 
that an unjust conqueror never enjoys the fruits of his vio- 
lence, can be cited. Even the sober Montesquieu, however, 
wrote only one chapter concerning the ** Advantages Accruing 
to the Vanquished'' (Quelques avantages du peuple conquis) ^ 
and none about the advantages accruing to the victor, which 
even modern war lovers seem to think right, at any rate, 
as far as the past is concerned. Thus Steinmetz^ calls at- 
tention to the fact that Alexander's empire conferred the 
benefits of Greek civilization on the races which it subjugated, 
and that in the long run all that the victorious Roman Empire 
did was to enable the conquered Jews to spread their religion. 
Karl von Stengel ^ likewise refers to the benefits accruing to 
Prussia from her defeats in 1806 and to France from her de- 
feat in 1870. 

As a matter of fact, if any one derives far-reaching benefits 
from war, then it is the vanquished. True, there is a prevail- 
ing notion that war is only a bad business for the loser. But 
this is, at any rate, accounted for in part by the different 
way in which war affects victor and vanquished. Every na- 
tion worth anything at all, after losing a war has always re- 
stricted its consumption of luxuries, whereas the victorious 
nation, thinking how much it has gained by the war, has con- 
sidered no such restraint necessary, and consequently become 
overbearing and extravagant. 

War brings in its train a certain ** superb disdain of life." 
Whoever must daily risk his life must not take things too 
seriously. Now, if the campaign ends gloriously, there is not 
that moral shock which speedily forces a conquered people 

1 Montesquieu : "De Tesprit des lois," 1748. Livre X, Chapitre IV. 

2 Dr. S. Rudolf Steinmetz, "Die Philosophie des Krieges" ("The 
Philosophy of War"), 1907. Page 40. Barth, Leipsic. 

3 Stengel, "Weltstaat und Friedensproblem" ("World-Wide Empires 
and the Problem of Peace") 1909. Pp. 108 and 112. 


to abandon the martial habits it has acquired in war. Thus 
the victor, with his feeling of superiority, imagines that he can 
go on not taking matters too seriously even under the altered 
conditions of peace. 

After all, war is a business like any other, and it is com- 
paratively immaterial that it should be "cruel and violent.'* 
Now, whoever learns one business forgets the others. A white 
man who has been accustomed to be treated somewhat as a 
superior being for a time in the tropics is often years before 
being able to feel at ease again in his native land. Any one 
who has played at being master, even for only a few days, 
fights shy of being a servant again; and any one who has 
played at soldiers for a time becomes a soldier. 

If a nation is often at war, it becomes warlike, and unlearns 
its peaceful occupations. War, however, cannot do more than 
protect civilization, which must be built up on peace; and 
hence a time comes sooner or later to all martial peoples when 
they have nothing left to protect. All they can then do is to 
collapse. Usually a stronger nation has meantime appeared to 
rob them of everything which they once stole from others; 
but this need not happen, for a victorious nation perishes of 
internal decay bred of trust in its own victorious armies. 
Even the Psalmist realized this, and at a time when his sacred 
books were still full of war and rumors of war. In the sixty- 
eighth Psalm he rejoices that ^^dissipatae gentes, quae 
hella volunt" — *'he hath scattered the people that delight in 
war. ' ' 

Therefore the following sentence. Even more striking are 
the words written by the Chinese philosopher Lao-tsze two 
thousand five hundred years ago. This atheistical founder of 
a religion says, ' * Is a man strongly armed ; then shall he not 
win.'* By this he means what he elsewhere explicitly states, 
that as with plants, so it is with human weapons. Hard wood 
is dead, but the young soft shoots at the top of the tree and at 
its roots are alive. Now, it is by means of these living growths 
that the plant makes headway ; by their means it spreads, pro- 


cures sustenance; grows, and perfects itself. Here already 
we have the natural scientist's point of view about war. 

So it is with man. What this virtually means was once ex- 
plained with startling plainness by the shrewd Li Hung 
Chang to General Waldersee, who wondered how the Chinese 
could look on so calmly while European troops were killing 
thousands, perhaps millions, of their compatriots. But Li 
opined that this mattered comparatively little. Once upon a 
time, he said, the Tatars (Mongols) came, not with cannon 
and bayonet, but with what were then modem weapons, *'bows 
and arrows.'' The Tatars always won, and they, too, slew 
millions of Chinese ; indeed, the Chinese had never won a sin- 
gle battle. * * But, ' ' continued the disciple of Lao-tsze, smiling, 
* * where are the Tatars now ? ' ' 

Yes, where are they ? China had no powerful weapons capa- 
ble of deciding a single battle on the battle-field, but she did 
have those ** living weapons" wherewith far more terrible and 
cruel fights are won, wherewith the fate of nations is sealed, 
and whereof we shall have more to say anon. 

§ 58. — The Decay of World-Wide Empires 

The slightest consideration of history, however superficial, 
confirms the fact that never has a nation reaped any fruits 
from its victories. Luther clothed the same thought in the 
fine line: 

"Mit unsrer Macht ist nichts getan'' (''Our power avail- 
eth naught"), and elsewhere he quotes Hannibal as an instance 
of this ; for despite the Battle of Cannae, perhaps the most glo- 
rious in the history of the whole world, he afterward came to 
a shameful end. Where are the empires of the unconquered 
Alexander and the unconquered Tamerlane? Attila, the 
scourge of God, was merely an episode, like Pugatschew, who 
is already half forgotten, and who had no influence whatever 
on the history of the world. What did it avail Charles XII 
to have conquered Russia, Denmark, and Poland? Or Na- 
poleon to have conquered Europe? Of what use were the 


hecatombs of dead slain by order of Dschingkiskahn, and the 
countless victims of the crusades ? Or what was the result of 
the irresistible onrush of the victorious Arab hordes who once 
overflowed all the Mediterranean countries? Even fairly 
lasting conquests were in the end always in vain. The vast em- 
pires of the East, built up on war and oppression, endured 
but for a day and then crumbled to pieces, and those of the 
West likewise perished. 

The huge Spanish Empire, on which, in the sixteenth cen- 
tury, the sun never set, has degenerated into a second-rate 
power. At the beginning of the succeeding century the Dutch 
States-General were the first sea-power in the world ; but only 
a few years after Admiral de Ruyter had again sailed vic- 
toriously up the Thames with his fleet, Holland was obliged 
to secede. Without force of arms, England won, owing to her 
geographical position, her commercial system, and her ca- 
pacity for adapting herself to modern conditions; and al- 
though she was Holland's ally and close personal ties subsisted 
between the two countries, for William of Orange, King of 
England, was Statthalter of the Netherlands, nevertheless she 
forced Holland out of her position as mistress of the seas. 
At the end of the seventeenth century Sweden, after the vic- 
tories of Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII, was admittedly 
one of the foremost great powers ; but by the time of the Revo- 
lution she had already sunk to the level of a small, insignifi- 
cant country. After all, Holland's naval and Swede'n's ter- 
ritorial ascendency were merely artificial constructions, w^hich 
did not owe their existence to any of the true elements of 
power. They must have, and perhaps it should be said that 
they ought to have, collapsed, which shows the folly of a na- 
tion's straining itself to the utmost in war and thus wasting 
its strength. 

Further analogies might be drawn from Spain, Portugal 
and Venice, whose colonial empires or, rather, empires made 
up of their customers, increased out of all proportion to the 
strength necessary to hold them together. Hence Machiavelli 's 


apparently paradoxical saying that Venice had never been 
more powerful than when she did not possess an inch of land 
on the Italian peninsula. And what has it profited France 
or Sweden to have been in occupation of German territory? 
Or what has it profited Germany to have occupied Italian or 
Polish territory? 

Shakspere's historical plays and particularly a national 
epic such as ''Henry V* cannot be read now without a certain 
feeling of pensive melancholy. In Shakspere's time Henry 
V was "the mirror of all Christian kings," and Agincourt 
*'the greatest day in English history." It was symptomatic 
for the history of the world that ten thousand citizen archers 
should have shot to pieces the almost five times greater 
knightly army of the Constable of France. But what were the 
practical results of France's brown earth having drunk the 
red blood of eighteen thousand of her best sons? For two 
years England ruled over France, and it was just at this time 
that the House of Burgundy, under John sans peur and 
Philip the Good, attained the zenith of its power. Fourteen 
years after Agincourt the Maid of Orleans freed and crowned 
her king, and everything was once more as of old, save that 
oceans of blood had been senselessly shed — senselessly and, 
after all, ingloriously, too, for who now ever thinks of Agin- 
court and the king who once w^on a battle there? 

§ 59. — The Economic Effects of War 

But even leaving out of count a country's power and in- 
fluence abroad, and considering only its internal conditions, 
we nevertheless find that it is the vanquished rather than the 
victor who comes off best. War has no beneficial efl:*ects on 
national well-being. It neither raises a nation's standard of 
civilization nor uplifts national sentiment. This of course 
can be better observed in modern wars, because the direct 
effects of war are here easier to survey. 

As I have already hinted, the tendency of trade after a war 
is so to develop that, although conditions may be almost equally 


unfavorable for both combatants, yet it is almost always the 
victor alone who has to endure economic depression, whereas 
in the country of the vanquished a period of commercial pros- 
perity usually sets in. Most instructive far Germany in this 
respect are probably the results of the Franco-Prussian War, 
since which time economic conditions generally in France, 
now freed from the demoralizing rule of the empire, have 
been noticeably prospering. All who know France have at- 
tributed this to the fact that, after being invaded, she, who 
before 1870 thought she, too, might attempt to domineer over 
the whole world, learned to work again. 

In Germany, on the other hand, the huge war indemnity 
made every one imagine that all was going on very prosper- 
ously, until the so-called "boom" came about in 1872.^ A 
great deal more champagne was drunk, and traces of this 
period are even now observable in the showy and tasteless deco- 
ration of the houses, furniture, etc., of the period. 

All this extravagance, which had nothing substantial be- 
hind it, led to an excessive desire for commercial expansion. 
Hence the great ** smash" and the ruin of thousands of peo- 
ple. Even Bismarck said in the Reichstag, on May 9, 1872, 
"We know that France is bearing the difficult commercial 
conditions at present prevailing in the civilized world better 
than we are; and that her budget has increased by a million 
and a half, a sum not raised by a loan; and we see that her 
resources are better than ours, and that, in short, in France 
there is less complaining about hard times." 

As a result of the commercial depression, there was an enor- 
mous increase in emigration from Prussia. Before 1866 this 
amounted on an average to about 40,000 annually, but in 
1873 it had reached about 150,000. This immense waste of 
human material of course alone represents a capital very, 
verj^ much larger than all the thousands of millions received 
from France. 

What, therefore, did Prussia gain by her victory or from 

i*'Die Griinderzeit" it is called; the "business founding time." 




her war indemnities or from the commercial treaty in her 
favor? Merely to show what I mean and without laying any 
undue stress upon this single instance, I give here the 
following diagram, the curved line in which indicates the 
number of vessels belonging to the Saxon-Bohemian Steamship 
Company. The influence, small though it be, of the disturb- 
ances which led to the war of 1859 is clearly traceable, as also 
are the after effects of 1866 and 1870-71. The after effects 
af 1866 were of course considerably felt by such a company 
as this. 

Fig. 3. 







X • — • 

/ f I 

^6 70. 






Number of vesbulb owued by the Saxon-Bohemian Steamship Company 

between 185U and 1880 

I should like to add that the number of steamers rose from 
three to seventeen — that is, by fourteen — in the fifteen years 
between 1850 to 1865; while in the next fifteen years (1865- 
80) their number rose only to twenty, — that is, by three, — 
which in absolute numbers is a nearly five-times-smaller in- 
crease. In the years of peace, therefore, the increase was 
almost five hundred per cent., while in the ensuing period, of 
equal length, but broken by wars, it was only eighteen per 

The following diagram, the curved line in which indicates 



the increase in the population of Berlin, should likewise prove 

1800 1850 1900^ 

Increase in the population of Berlin in the nineteenth century. 

It is impossible to calculate all the economic advantages 
and disadvantages of a war, but there is one point to which I 
wish to draw attention. The surest indication of a country's 
industrial development is probably the increase in the number 
of its steam-engines. Now, if we consider the multiplication 
of steam engines in the period 1860-70 as compared with the 
decade 1870-80, we shall arrive at the following diagram, 
which throws the effects of war into strong relief : ^ 

Name of Country. 

Increase or Decrease in num- 
ber of Steam-engines used 


Austria and Belgium 

France and America 


— 30 per cent. 

— 20 per cent. 

per cent. 

15 per cent. 

It is obvious that the heaviest decrease occurred in the 
victorious Germany, whereas vanquished France at all events 
maintained her former standard. The country which comes 
out best, however, is England, the smiling onlooker who took 
no part in the game. 

iThe figures are based on the Festival Publication of the Royal 
Statistical Office of Prussia for 1905. 

2 The figures are taken from an article by K. Th. von Heigel and 
W. Hauaenstein on "Das Zeitalter der nationalen Einigung" ("The 
Period of National Unity"), to be found in J. von Pflugk-Hartung's 
"Weltgeschichte" ("History of the World"), Vol. VI, p. 353* 



We are altogether far too often deceived by the fact that 
diagrams frequently show how this, that, or the other national 
source of wealth has increased in Germany since 1870; and 
we forget that it generally increased still more before 1870. 
What makes such comparisons more difficult is that before 
this year the statistics of all the different component states 
in Germany were issued separately, whereas after 1870 we 
have generally only the statistics for the whole German 
Empire. I have gone through numbers of reports from 
chambers of commerce and commercial undertakings, and vir- 
tually always found that the increase in their prosperity re- 
corded before 1870 was greater than that recorded after this 
year. To go all through this material, however, would greatly 
exceed the limits of this volume, and indeed it would require 
to be dealt with separately. 

Even if we review the whole export and import trade of 
the world, we arrive at the same result. In the thirty years 
between 1870 and 1902, the world's total trade increased from 
about £2,470,000,000 to about £4,710,000,000; that is, by 
eighty-seven per cent. Mainly owing to the growth of 
American, Japanese, and Canadian trade, the percentage of 
trade in almost all European countries decreased ; but whereas 
in France trade fell off only 3.7 per cent., in Germany it 
decreased by 9.8 per cent., or nearly thrice as much. The 
more exact figures for Germany, France, and England, and 
also for the world as a whole, are shown in the following table. 
Exclusive of the precious metals, the value of exports and 
imports was as follows : 

In thousands of millions of marks 

(One thousand million marks = 


In percentages of the world's 
total trade 










Decrease of the world's total trade by 












Here, again, therefore, the effect on the conquered nation 
has been good.^ 

Similarly with regard to agriculture. If we examine the 
interesting curved lines showing the increase of domestic 
animals in Prussia ^ we shall find that horses, pigs, goats, and 
horned cattle begin to increase in or about 1855, and sheep in 
or about 1864, and that thenceforth they continued steadily 
increasing. After the Franco-Prussian War, no trace of any 
considerable increase is to be found. "When we keep to condi- 
tions more or less reflected in all branches of trade and indus- 
try, and avoid singling out special instances, we shall arrive at 
similar statistical results. 

The conditions after 1870 were not in any way due to mere 
chance. After the Kusso-Japanese War the finances of vic- 
torious Japan were completely shattered, while for the first 
time in twenty years the budget of vanquished Russia 
showed a surplus. After the Boer War British consols fell 
twenty per cent., while the conquered Boers, since losing the 
war, have become a great power, whose wealth has increased to 
an enormous extent. Even Spain's regeneration dates from 
the time when she was conquered and all her colonies taken 
from her, among them the ** Cuban Pearl.'* Spanish Govern- 
ment stock speedily doubled in value. For further instances 
Norman Angell should be consulted. 

How, indeed, could this be otherwise, since as a rule victory 
belongs to whosoever is best and most strongly equipped 
for war? These military institutions are almost automatically 
extended to the subject nation, and first of all, of course, to the 

1 These figures afford all the more conclusive proof of the truth 
of my contention because even in 1870 the value of Germany's total trade 
exceeded the value of France's by 700 millions. Despite the very much 
greater increase of population in Germany, this difference has become 
less in tlie last thirty years. 

If British trade shows an even greater relative decrease per cent, 
than that of Germany, this is because in 1870 England enormously 
outdistanced the latter. In the intervening years Germany to some ex- 
tent caught up. 

2 Jubilee Atlas of the German Royal Statistical Office, No. 58, p. 71. 


provinces taken from the enemy. The vanquished, in short, 
think that in the next war they must have their revenge, and 
therefore they endeavor to imitate their enemy's institutions, 
seeing that these seem to answer well in war. 

§ 60. — National Influence 

Thus in the ease of every subjugated nation there is an 
increase of the outward signs of civilization, such as wealth, 
order, and health. If, therefore, such a nation has only a 
latent tendency to increase, then it is likely to do so faster 
than before. It has always been thus. In the Second Book of 
Moses (Chapter I, v. 12) we find: "But the more they [the 
Egyptians] afflicted them [the Jews], the more they multi- 
plied and grew. ' ' Every one must know that this is also the 
case with the Poles to-day, as can easily be proved by statis- 
tics, although our official statistics unfortunately do not take 
this important fact directly into account. In the eleven ad- 
ministrative districts of Bromberg, Marienwerder, Oppeln, 
Arnsberg, Dansic, Posen, Gumbinnen, Konigsberg, Breslau, 
Koslin, and Miinster, in which more than ten per cent, of the 
population is Polish, the average birth-rate is forty- two per 
1000: but in the remaining administrative districts, where 
there are only a few Poles, it is only thirty-six per 1000.^ 

In the Polish provinces, therefore, 161/4 per cent, more chil- 
dren are born than in the German ones. Now, these so-called 
Polish provinces are by no means purely Polish, the propor- 
tion of Poles being only one third. But if this Polish third 
causes a 16i/^ per cent, increase in the birth-rate, then the Poles 
themselves must have about fifty per cent, more children than 
the Germans. That is, to a thousand Germans thirty-six 
German children ^ are born. To a thousand Poles fif tj^-f our 
Polish children are born. Basing our calculations on the pro- 

1 Statistics (Jubilee publication) of the Royal Prussian Statistical 
Office, 1905. II, p. 24. 

2 This figure is taken as representing the average birth-rate in the 
comparatively pure German administrative districts. 


portions of the Poles as proved by German statistics for Prus- 
sia in the year 1910, — 357 Germans to 35 Poles,^ — we get the 
following algebraical equation: 

Ig 357 plus n. Ig 1036 = Ig 35 plus n. Ig 1054. 

Here n equals the number of years, which is easily calculated ; 
and the equation proves that in the year 2045 there will be as 
many Poles in Prussia as Germans. 

Besides these purely biological considerations, psychology 
also intervenes, for in every oppressed people the national 
sense becomes very much stronger. In general this, of course, 
applies only to modern times, for except the Jews no ancient 
nation had any genuine racial national sentiment; it merely 
felt that it adhered to a particular form of civilization. (Cf. 
Chap. VII.) This is quite understandable, since a people can- 
not fail to think it would be better for it to become strong if 
it has just had a practical demonstration of its being allow- 
able for the strong to subdue the weak, and if the unpleasant- 
ness of such subjection is daily impressed upon it by number- 
less petty subterfuges. Moreover, it will naturally assume 
that there must be many advantages in subjugating another 
nation, and it will consequently strain every nerve to attain a 
national prestige equal to that of the nation by which it has 
been conquered. 

We have seen this in the case of every oppressed nation of 
modern times. Not till Poland was partitioned did the Poles 
awake to national consciousness; at any rate their national 
consciousness was incalculably increased thereby; while that 
of the Italians can be proved to have been, awakened by the 
Irredentist movement, and France's national feeling now 
mainly subsists by thinking of her ''lost provinces." Even 
Germany is no exception to the rule, and German national feel- 
ing awakened under the oppression of Napoleon 's foreign dom- 

iHuber: "Geographiach statistische Tabellen" ("Statistical Geo- 
graphical Tables"), 1914. 63rd ed., p. 11. 


ination. As Bismarck said to the Jena students:^ *' With- 
out the oppression of foreign rule the awakening of German na- 
tional feeling in Prussia would scarcely have been possible. 
Even now, in Austria, German patriotism is the strongest, at 
any rate the noisiest, where the German, although ruler in 
name, must nevertheless fight for its existence against a for- 
eign people. German patriotism is most noticeable in Prus- 
sian Germany, where the German has to contend against 
French and Frenchlings, Danes and Poles. * ' 

The practical lesson from all this, a lesson which might 
assuredly have been arrived at more easily, is to annoy for- 
eign peoples as little as possible. Any one not observing this 
obviously common sense precept injures himself alone. 

To cite one instance profoundly affecting every German, 
how is Germany the better for the Poles being oppressed? 
For Prussians and German-speaking Austrians,^ Polish op- 
pression simply means a thorn in their flesh. In Austria the 
Poles have already to a certain extent the upper hand, while 
in Germany their power is daily increasing. Even West- 
phalian soil, where perhaps the most pure-blooded Teutons 
live, is in danger of becoming a Polish wedge, and a West- 
phalian Pole has already only very narrowly missed being 
elected to the Reichstag. It is just those who believe in 
the future of Germany and the ''German idea" who ought 
sorrowfully to contemplate Austria. In this land, which has 
been built up only on dynastic principles and on contingencies 
such as the celebrated Hapsburg marriages, millions of Ger- 
mans are slowly going under simply because the conquerors 
conquer too much and are now a minority as compared with 
the mass of the people, who are of foreign origin. 

Even Grillparzer,^ Austria's greatest poet, who all his life 
long believed in the significance and power of the sword, 

1 Kommers is the word used. Bismarck spoke at a students' con- 
vivial evening or drinking bout. — Translator. 

2 "Austrian Germany" is the peculiar phrase actually used. — Trans- 

3 Grillparzer's "Sarotliqhe W?rke/' 1S70. VqI. Ill, p. 238, Cotta, 


resigned himself at last to the melancholy conclusion that vic- 
tory on the battle-field means nothing ; and his last poem, writ- 
ten shortly before his death, and in celebration of Austria's 
most famous victory, contains four lines testifying to this 
conviction : 

"Marclifeld! So ist dein Sieg nicht walir 

Aus unseres Herrsclierhauses friihesten Tagenl — 

Konig Przemysl Ottokar 

Hat den Rudolf von Habsburg geschlagen. 

Despite all the successes on the battle-field, two identical 
conceptions — those of the internal strength of a nation and of 
inalienable right — ^have carried the day. In vain were the 
triumphs of cannon and battle-ship ; in the last resort it was 
still living weapons which decided the issue. 

§ 61. — The Sword for the Weak 

The fact that defeat has *' tonic effects^* and victory en- 
ervating effects means that the scales of Justice, wherewith 
war must weigh the nations, can never rest. The oppressed 
are forever gathering together to avenge themselves in war 
on their enemies; and again and again they will succeed. 
Hence the wearisomeness and sameness of history, which is 
merely a ceaseless ebb and flow of ever-ending wars. Over 
and over again has it appeared, and it will appear again in 
the future, that no country can in the long run be greater 
than its people; and no changes can come about unless man, 
perceiving that things cannot continue thus, makes a change 
of his own free will. 

It almost seems, however, as if no one would ever profit by 
all these lessons, and Hegel rightly maintains that **the only 
thing history teaches is that it has never taught any one any- 
thing.'* In the ease of the present war every nation is clearly 
anxious to prove that it is still youthful and vigorous, and 
therefore it behaves just like a child, scattering the teachings 
of its elders to the winds and making experiments on its own 


account. And the experiments will be made, but it will be 
too late! 

Empires have endured only when, as in Rome, the spade fol- 
lowed the sword, or when, as in England's case, a colonizing 
civilization has followed the cannon. Yet this does not go 
to the root of the matter; for the most deep-seated cause for 
the success of these two empire-building countries lies in the 
fact, by no means fortuitous, that both Romans and Britons 
called and still do call their conquered people not ''subject 
nations,** but "confederates.*' A world-wide empire cannot 
be welded together and govern itself except freely ; and wher- 
ever this principle of liberty has not been respected, conquest 
with the sword, no matter how thorough it may have appeared, 
has never availed aught. Anything may be done with bay- 
onets, only, as Lassalle once said, we must not sit down upon 
them, and must not use them for trying to conquer countries. 
Every people ought to try its best to colonize and to spread; 
but for this purpose it must endeavor to increase its vital 
forces, its living weapons, to the utmost possible extent. Any 
one imagining he can colonize with the point of the sword is 
a fool and a weakling. None save the weak and foolish need 
a sword; the wise and strong need none. 

How War Is Being Metamorphosed 


§ 62. — The Growth of Armies 

T'he purport of this chapter is to show that, as time has 
gone on, wars and war losses have become greater. Not much 
can be claimed to have resulted from any attempts made to 
*' humanize" warfare, and that valuable sense of solidarity 
that used to prevail in armies is tending completely to dis- 

These historical facts might at first seem to destroy all hope 
of perpetual peace ever prevailing. On reflection, however, 
it will be seen that in the complete change which is coming 
over war there are so many obvious symptoms of decline that 
a rapidly nearing end may be prophesied not only for the 
present war, but for war in general. 

That war once consisted of duels we are even now strongly 
reminded by the name helium^ which is derived from duellum. 
Then "friends" used to lend a hand, and even in Homer's 
time it was an event of historical importance when a few dozen 
Grecian princes with their servants besieged a medium-sized 
provincial city such as Troy, round whose walls a good runner 
(Hector) could run twice without being incapacitated, and 
which, therefore, cannot have been very large. Originally, in- 
deed, wars meant the administration of comparatively mild 
thrashings, such as are unavoidable among peoples wandering 
about in small gangs or living in remote villages.^ In those 

1 Cf. the description of Ithaca. 



times it was already an event for a hundred men to be con- 
fronting one another. 

Even when we come to ancient history we must not form 
exaggerated conceptions of the size of the armies.^ The ac- 
counts of the vast armies of Darius and Xerxes are mythical. 
At all events, they were beaten at Marathon by fifteen thou- 
sand Greeks, all told, and the ten thousand Greeks who fought 
at Cunaxa ^ were a mighty army according to the notions of 
those days. Even the Roman armies were comparatively 
small, and their actual numbers must mostly have varied be- 
tween forty thousand and eighty thousand, since the total 
number of men in the Roman garrisons in three parts of the 
world did not exceed two hundred thousand. At present 
this extent of territory produces about a hundred times as 
many soldiers. 

During the Middle Ages armies tended to become smaller; 
indeed in most matters pertaining to external civilization this 
period was one of general retrogression. Even the *'vast 
squadrons'' of the famous generals of the Thirty Years' War 
seldom exceeded thirty thousand men, and when fifty thou- 
sand imperial troops were assembled together once at Nordlin- 
gen, this was considered a very large number. Not till the 
time of the Roi Soleil of Versailles (Louis XIV) were there 
armies of a hundred thousand men, which the "Philosopher 
of Sans Souci" (Frederick II) made slightly larger still. 
Once, indeed, in the spring of 1757 he had. actually brought 
150,000 soldiers together. 

Then came the French Revolution, and the levee en masse 
of 1793 produced an army of 700,000, while in 1812 Napoleon 

1 Cf. Hans Delbriick, "Geiat imd Masse in der Geschichte" ("Intellect 
and Numbers in History'*), 1912. Verlag der "Preuasiachen jahr- 
biiclier." Delbriick mentions the fact that at Hastings only four thou- 
sand Normans fought, and not 1,200,000, as reported; and that the 
Polish army at Tannenberg did not number 5,200,000, but only from 
sixteen to seventeen thousand; and ao on. 

2 About sixty miles northwest of Babylon, on the Euphrates. The 
battle was fought in 401 b, c, between Artaxerxes Mnemon, King of 
Persia, and the rival brother, Cyrus the Younger, who fell. — Translator. 


had actually 750,000 soldiers under the colors in Russia and 
Spain alone. Prussia, on the contrary, despite her consider- 
able expansion, had in 1806 only 200,000 soldiers, including 
the fortification garrisons, half of them foreigners. After the 
peace of Tilsit, Scharnhorst* thought it out of the question 
for Prussia, with her five million inhabitants, to have an army 
exceeding 120,000 or at most 150,000 ; while in reality he did 
not insist upon the army numbering more than 70,000 on a 
peace footing and 87,000 on a war footing. According to 
Schamhorst's principles, therefore, the strength of the Ger- 
man Army on a war footing would even now be allowed only 
slightly to exceed one million ; and in any case he would have 
considered more than 1,600,000, or at most 2,100,000, out of the 
question in Germany to-day. Even the mass levy of 1813, 
when Germany *s ** whole military strength was strained to 
the uttermost," did not succeed in raising her army beyond 
128,571 men,2 inclusive of men fit for garrison service, which 
to-day would mean an army of only 1,700,000. 

These facts therefore show the sudden and enormous in- 
crease of armies within recent years. From time immem- 
orial armies have been comparatively small, and now all of a 
sudden we are overwhelmed by disaster. That it is a disaster 
is manifest from the direction of the curved line, which in the 
nineteenth century shows an upward tendency, and now seems 
as if it would never cease mounting upward. This, however, 
cannot be, and the following considerations will show that we 
shall again be overtaken by disaster, and this within measur- 
able distance of time. Thus, supposing the tendency of the 
curve to remain the same as during the last century ; that is, 
supposing it to increase very much in accordance with the 
equation : 

the strength of an army :=a x at^ 

1 "M^moires des Generals von Scharnhorst vom 21. 1807." 

2 According to C. von Plotho in "Der Krieg in Deutschland und 
Frankreich." ("War in France and Germany.") 



in which a stands for half a million and t for time. Then 
in about three generations we should already have armies 
numbering billions. Now, as these would exceed the popu- 
lation of those days, even allowing for the utmost possible rate 
of increase, it will be seen to be logically impossible for armies 
to continue to increase as they have done during the last 

S^G. 5. 




Roman Army Modieval Army. Frederick U\ 
Homeric Army \ | 30yQari^,ar 



OambeHa 1871 

1000 B.C. 



f Germany 1870 

2000 A.D. 

The Gbowth of Abmies. 

hundred years. Some cause must come into operation 
which will once more force the curved line to descend.^ 
This is not merely a mathematical, but also a scientific, 

1 Even assuming that all human beings increase faster in the next 
hundred years than any nation has done hitherto, and that then all 
nations upon earth will be involved in war, and all available men and 
women take part in the war, there would still be nothing like enough of 
them. On the other hand, it is worthy of note that, according to this 
curve, still greater armies will be possible in the next few years. 


That wars now involve so much larger numbers, there- 
fore, need not alarm any one, especially as this is, at any rate, 
partly due to the growth of social impulses and to man's in- 
creased tendency to form associations. Even Homer says that 
fellow-countrymen do not make war on one another, and this 
is still so. The only difference is that the aggregates of 
people who feel as fellow-countrymen have grown larger. 
Once it was the tribe, then it was the city, and now it is the 
state, or rather, the union of states, which feels itself 
a separate entity. The greatness of such entities must of 
course always determine the greatness of war. That wars 
should become greater is in itself no proof that human 
beings have become more warlike and cantankerous, but 
rather a sign that they have become more peaceful and con- 

§ 63. — The Death Agony of the War Giant ^ 

B^t there is yet another cause for consolation in the fact 
that wars continue to get bigger and bigger. Whenever any- 
thing is to die a natural death, it must first grow great ; that 
is, reach its maximum size. In Germany mice have not be- 
come extinct, but first the aurochs died out, and the bison and 
then the bear and the wolf; and now even our proud stag is 
kept alive only by artificial means. In nature it is only the 
big creatures which die out ; but everything which is big must 
and will die, because, in conformity with the inevitable law 
of growth, it will grow beyond the limits of what is possible. 

1 The word here used (that is, giganthasie) , signifying the death of 
giants, hints at one of the most important principles of self-regulation 
which can be deduced from paleontology. Bones found show that in 
the course of centuries all living creatures except insects, which have 
thus never become extinct, grow and grow, and then, when they have 
become very large and apparently all-powerful, they suddenly become ex- 
tinct. The facts can be proved, and the reasons for this phenomenon 
have been hinted at in §§ 40 and 41. In reality it is the same thing as 
is called in the German legend "the dusk of the Gods" (Ootterdam- 
merung ) . 


This is the profound meaning which the natural scientist at- 
taches to the phrase *Hhe dusk of the Gods" — a meaning so 
easy to understand and yet so full of mystery. Idolized as 
war is, it, too, will be hurled from its pinnacle of power. In 
my opinion, indeed, any one dispassionately contemplating 
the spectacle of the present war cannot fail to see in it al- 
ready many signs of the approaching downfall of wars. 
Across the vast battle-fronts blows a chill, wai'ning breeze, be- 
tokening the approaching dusk of the gods. 

Everything beautiful and characteristic about past wars has 
vanished ; the gay camp life and the bright uniforms, the sol- 
diers' wild spirits, the gorgeous heroism of the valiant '*sum- 
moners to the fray,'* the men who used to fight in glorious 
single combats, and then, mounted on *' white chargers" 
visible from afar, show themselves to their men, and last of 
all, standing on a distant hill, fix all eyes upon them, if only 
because of the noise made by their trumpeters. 

The general has left the battle-field, and now the soldier has 
left it also, the former to sit in his villa, holding the telephone- 
receiver to his ear, and the latter to keep watches in the 
trenches. But the battle-field itself is empty and deso- 
late, though the noise of battle can be heard for miles 

It is impossible not to think that the battle-field has ceased to 
be the first consideration. Formerly the place of battle used 
to be carefully selected ; now we lie down round the country- 
side and dig ourselves in. Where we do so, after all, matters 
not at all ; only there must be a nice long line, as straight as 
possible, and there the armies lie, often, it is said, only a few 
yards apart, and make **war." 

The bulk of the work is done in quite another way. One 
man calculates how much copper, gold, or iron there is; an- 
other, how best to make the supplies of com, meat, fat, etc., 
**hold out"; a third, how the railways must be run; a fourth, 
where, according to the map, his missiles will hit ; and a fifth, 
the general himself, for how many troops he must ask in order 


to have the necessary "density" on a particular "space.'' 
They must not be too few, otherwise the attacking columns 
will not be deep enough, and there will be too few reserves; 
and they must also not be too many, otherwise there will be 
difficulty in feeding them. And many other persons are mak- 
ing many other calculations. Whoever calculates best wins. 
The fact that, instead of having a single man of genius as gen- 
eral, we have now the impersonal mechanism of the general 
staff may be taken as showing the extreme length to which 
this new order of things, which first showed itself in Prussia, 
has now been pushed. 

Not for a moment do I assert that this mode of waging war 
is eeisier than the old way. Quite the contrary; and I am 
firmly convinced that it takes up more time. Frederick II 
and Napoleon, when in camp, not infrequently spent some time 
in "agreeable converse"; for Napoleon's many-sidedness, even 
when on campaign, was admirable. But I am quite ready to 
believe that Hindenburg does nothing but wage war. But 
there has been a change since Napoleon's time, a complete 
change ; and there can be no doubt that the old lively, merry 
war is dead, its place having been taken by .something new, 
something which to me seems to show signs of approaching 
decay, but which to others may seem to contain possibilities 
of further developments. 

And it may be that they are right, for war has not yet at- 
tained its zenith. Once, while Freiligrath was still writing 
good poems, he described a wondrous vision of the last battle 
in Europe : 

Zwei Lager heute zerkliiften die Welt 
Und ein Hiiben, ein Driiben nur gilt. 

This last die in the old game is not yet cast. Neutrals there 
still are, and perhaps old Freiligrath was right that there must 
first be some Armageddon, some battle in which the whole 
world will take part.^ 

1 Cf . what has been said ( § 34 ) about Europeans and Mongols. 


If mankind does not recollect itself in time, then this last 
battle will come to pass ; but then it will be an end of all things. 
One thing is certain : if war ever does attain its utmost pos- 
sible size, then its death must ensue; for if once one half of 
mankind has had a victory over the other half, who is to go on 
fighting ? 

The course, however, is laid down along which human evo- 
lution, whether voluntarily or not, will proceed, and our good 
railways and steamers, our airmen and radio-telegrams of the 
future will insure this course being followed. The horrible 
aspect of human evolution in the past was just this, that while 
our technical knowledge and means of communication impelled 
us to be constantly forming new and larger, more comprehen- 
sive organizations, we crazy human beings, instead of using 
them as a source of ever-increasing benefits, converted them 
into a means of ever greater destruction. 

However this may be, war will one day have attained its ut- 
most limits, and another thing is certain: the last war will 
also be the greatest and most terrible, even as the last Saurian 
was the hugest of all. This being so, he who knows can af- 
ford to smile calmly, despite all the horrors going on, and 
even though he may perhaps feel the absurdity of these atroci- 
ties more keenly than any one else. Our technical knowledge, 
in brief, is causing war to grow to a gigantic size, and will 
then slay it. In nature it is always so. *'Ajax fell through 
Ajax' strength,'' and the enormous speed at which our tech- 
nical knowledge is progressing affords us this consolation, that 
the dusk of the war gods will not be long in coming. 

§ 64. — Defensive Warfare and Lying 

We have yet another cause for confidence. War is no 
longer accepted as a matter of course, but an attempt is made 
to impose verbal limits upon it. Cabinet warfare and of- 
fensive warfare, it is said, are wrong, and only defensive war- 
fare is right. If those who talk thus meant what they said, 
this would be already something to the good; for before any 



one can claim the just right of self-defense he must first have 
been attacked, and any one who approves of defensive wars 
only is really condemning the possibility of wars occurring at 
all; and if every one held such views, there would really be 
no more wars. But men in general do not yet hold such views. 
All they do, as Thomas Upham ^ says, is to turn war out at 
the front door in order secretly to let it in again at the 

But let us put ourselves in the place of some particular 
nation which always believes that it was the other side which 
began. The question still remains as to what may really be 
justifiably defended. In primitive conditions it does not seem 
to have been difficult to decide in such a case. If a band of 
soldiers plundered and robbed in any district the farmers 
from the neighboring villages clubbed together and killed the 
peace-breakers, and this was looked on as legitimate self- 
defense. Matters at present are far more complex, for this 
apparently most legitimate kind of defense is now solely con- 
fined to those ''wild beasts in human shape*' denominated 
franc-tireurs. Moreover, for a long while past the defense of 
one's native soil has not been considered a distinguishing 
characteristic of defensive warfare any more than crossing 
the enemy's frontier is supposed to be at all a distinguishing 
characteristic of aggressive warfare, as Belgium's example 

This love of lying makes the expression ''defensive war- 
fare" a mere phrase. It goes without saying that if any one 
breaks into a house or invades a country, those concerned have 
a right to turn him out, although in civilized countries the 
police are generally used for such purposes. To have a police 
force capable of hanging or executing justice not merely on 
petty private individuals, but even on great generals and re- 
publics is precisely what the chivalrous opponents of robber 
barons are aiming at. 

But who is to be considered the aggressor? He who fired 

1 Thomas Upham's ^'Manual of Peace." 


the first shot, he first crossed the frontier, or he who sent the 
ultimatum? It is just he who will always say that he was 
merely acting in self-defense. Hence to-day it is more usual 
to seek for the aggressor and not for the guilty party. But to 
find him is much more difficult. In my student days I once 
wanted to defend myself against an obvious literary wrong 
done me, but my revered professor, the great physiologist, 
Ewald Hering, dissuaded me from doing so. **You say Herr 
X — made a mistake, ' ' he argued, ' ' but he will reply that you 
are stupid. You object that abuse is no proof, but he will 
retort that you began abusing him. And so it will go. You 
will reproach each other with making misquotations, will 
make unimportant side issues the main issue, and will gradu- 
ally get more and more insulting, till at length you stop with- 
out any result except that you will be enemies for life." 

Most of the absolutely unnecessary so-called scientific con- 
troversies actually do arise in this way, without any one being 
really able to say who first began to adopt an unprofessional 
tone. A tavern brawl or a street fight comes about in just 
the same way, and so do wars. Men talk and act and misun- 
derstand themselves into war. 

From time immemorial the attempt has been made to con- 
vert every war into a defensive war by shifting the question 
of the blame from oneself on to some one else; but ap- 
parently Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, was the first 
systematically to set about doing this. When this monarch 
sailed across the Baltic, to conquer Germany, he did so not as 
an aggressor, but as ^^ defensor fidei" — Defender of the True 
Faith. This different point of view explains the many dif- 
ferent opinions held about him. The wholly ignorant peas- 
ants of those days abided by hard facts only, and they have 
preserved such evil recollections of the Swedish knights and 
their Swedish jargon and other pious expedients that even 
now in North Germany the time of the Swedes is synonymous 
with a **time of terror." Historians, however, at all events 
those of Protestant inclinations, ''rightly" consider that Gus- 


tavus Adolphus was on the whole greatly to be admired for 
having gone to war. 

A hundred other things can be just as well defended as 
religious beliefs; and, to give only one instance, in wars all 
over the world it is only too often evident that one combatant 
is defending his so-called rights and the other his liberty. 
Now, no one any longer attaches the least importance to 
rights which are mere matters of form. York formally broke 
the treaty of alliance existing with France, and in the middle 
of the war went over to Napoleon's enemies, thus instituting 
the war of liberation, which afterward received the king's 
sanction. Nevertheless, even in the opinion of still-living 
Frenchmen, Prussia is undeniably entitled to speak of her 
''Holy War" and of her defense, although it must never be 
forgotten that the ''tyrant of the French'' also believed that 
he was defending the civilization of Europe united under his 
command against the threatening inroads of Asiatics, which 
was his way of describing the hordes of Russian Cossacks. 
And if we would now solve the questions then raised, we 
should find that the solution depended upon whether we adopt 
the Russian, German, French, or European point of view. 
The institution of just defensive warfare was considerably 
extended by the introduction of preventive warfare, the chief 
characteristics of which have been revealed to us with con- 
siderable candor by Bismarck.^ You must choose the time 
for striking your blow, which, in parenthesis, is, after all, only 
the "best way to cut a fine figure." For strategical rea- 
sons this time must be that in which "it is more to our ad- 
vantage for matters to come to a head quickly than for them 
to drag on. " 2 Skilful diplomacy must contrive to make out 
that it is we who have been attacked.* Then, if things go ill, 
there is nothing more to be done ; but if they go well, you can 

1 Bismarck's "Gedanken und Erinnerungen" ("Reflections and Recol- 
lections"), Vol. IT, Cliap. XXII, about the Ems telejrram. 
2Moltke's words, spoken at a hincheon on June 13, 1870. 
3 Bismarck's "elucidation" on the same occasion 


throw overboard any such old wives ^ tale as defensive warfare, 
and proudly admit a flourish of trumpets in order to show 
your statesmanlike qualities. 

There are now such a host of conceptions which are pos- 
sessions worth defending in consequence that every one now- 
adays insists upon having gone to war solely for purposes of 
defense. In proof of this we need only read the speeches 
delivered by the ministers of the powers taking part in the 
war of 1914. It should be noted that even if perhaps not all 
the ministers of all the ten powers were really convinced of 
the justice of their cause, yet obviously the overwhelming ma- 
jority of the people were so. 

Serbia is defending herself against *' absorption" by Aus- 
tria; Russia and Montenegro are defending their *' brother by 
race"; Austria her ** prestige in the Balkans"; Germany her 
"fidelity to the Nibelungen"; France is waging a war of 
liberation and defending the annexed provinces against the 
** conqueror " ; England is defending the rights of neutrals; 
Japan the ''Mongolian Idea" in the far East; and Belgium 
alone is defending her own soil, while as for Turkey, no one 
yet knows what she really is defending, although it would seem 
that, like Belgium, she did not enter the war entirely of her 
own free will. 

Additional support has been lent to the foregoing definitions 
of war aims by the attitude of the socialist parties in the 
belligerent countries. These parties are certainly pacifically 
inclined and averse from any but defensive warfare. Hence 
their whole-hearted cooperation proves that these official asser- 
tions are really believed by the great mass of the people in 
belligerent countries. The German Social Democrats are as- 
suredly the best disciplined of all, yet their papers contained 
statements to the effect that the only reason why Germany 
began her defensive war against Russian czarism by attack- 
ing Belgium was to be able to invade France by the line of 
least resistance, and that even the military subjugation of 


France was to be merely a strategical episode in the defense 
of Germany against Russia ! 

But it is not only the mass of the people who think thus; 
even the educated classes do so. In England idealists of a 
pacifist turn of mind stultify their appeals for peace by sug- 
gestively intimating that (English) civilization must be de- 
fended against Prussian militarism; while their fellows in 
Germany think they must defend German civilization against 
English narrow-mindedness. 

That all these views are subjectively true we are quite con- 
vinced, but for this very reason we must not allow them to be 
objectively true. Nothing could better show the impossibility 
of accurately defining the conception of defensive warfare 
than the constant repetition of such dicta. They simply 
prove once more that from the purely national point of view 
every war must be just and right if a nation enters upon it 
of its own free will. It was really not necessary to write 
any pamphlets on the subject, for they would never convince 
*'the other side," to whom, of course, "their war" appears no 
less just and right. Whoever, therefore, desires to investi- 
gate the justness and Tightness of war as war must adopt a 
higher point of view, the point of view of humanity. But in 
this case a war seems neither just nor right unless it in some 
way benefits mankind. 

If therefore all these discussions concerning the defensive 
character of wars are absurd, and merely prove the absence 
of discerning, critical minds then every time any one attempts 
to justify his eagerness for war this must be considered as 
betokening that he is somewhat ashamed of himself. Fur- 
thermore, it is a proof that our views concerning war are 
undergoing a change, and that we are unconsciously condemn- 
ing war for war's sake. A new truth may even be heralded/ 
by a lie. 



§ 65. — The Principle of Humaneness 

Perhaps the most marked characteristic of modern wars is 
that while, on the one hand, the scale on which they are waged 
is increasing, on the other hand, an attempt is being made 
to humanize warfare. All great men without exception have 
told us about the beauty of humaneness. There is nothing 
surprising in this, for, after all, the conception of humaneness 
is the logical deduction from the scientific fact of there being 
only one genus humanum, only one human species. 

Among the dull mass of mankind there is probably a vague 
notion that such ideas are great and fine, but they are no less 
instinctively felt to be profound and terrible. Hence men 
substitute for this dangerous living conception the safe dead 
symbol of a transcendent, but unattainable, God, whom they 
need neither resemble nor follow. Thus the deification of 
Christ in the second century meant simply a falling away 
from Him. Imitation of Christ had ceased, and a stage was 
erected for revering Him. 

Not one of us but is aware that society to-day does hateful 
and inhuman things, but it is these very things which it is 
thought possible to beautify by covering them with a cloak 
of love of mankind, about which otherwise no one troubled 
their heads ; else it could not have come to pass that the word 
humaneness is now never used except in discussing the in- 
human. No one talks of treating his own kind humanely ; but 
when there were still slaves, we used to endeavor to be ** hu- 
mane" to them ; and even now the conquerors of a country are 
** humane" to the conquered. 

No one considers the question of the desirability of main- 
taining the death-penalty from the point of view of the laws 
of humanity, but from that of practical expediency. It must, 
however, be ** humanely" carried out. The guillotine was a 
*' humane" invention, and the fact that we now only shoot, 


hang, behead, or electrocute our fellow-men proves how much 
*'more humane" we have become since the Middle Ages, 
when executions were sometimes performed by a wheel. 

Thus we have invented humane warfare ! A general belief 
prevails, in fact, that wars can be made juster and less unpleas- 
ant by waging them according to methods sanctified by tradi- 
tion, and now also established by the Geneva Convention of 
August 22, 1864, by the Paris Convention of 1856, or the 
Declaration of London of 1908, by the First or Second Hague 
Convention (of 1899 and 1907), or by some other mutual 

True, some juggling with words is still needful. War in 
general and in principle substitutes might for right, as all 
great military writers, Clausewitz, for instance, quite candidly 
admit as something which goes without saying. Consequently, 
all manner of artifices must be resorted to in order to bring 
in the right. Thus Kahl, the well-known authority on crim- 
inal law, lays it down quite simply that *'war is a struggle of 
one state against another, but not murder committed by one 
human being upon another.'' On this principle he adds, the 
humaneness of modern wars is based. 

Now, these are at best empty words, for as yet no one has 
discovered how to carry on war between one country and an- 
other without killing human beings in so doing. It might be 
said that it is man 's business to find out how to fight his wars 
without needing to kill persons. But, then, modern warfare 
would have to be condemned, since it is unthinkable without 
slaughter on both sides and without one man murdering an- 
other. In principle this view has always been put forward 
even by the supporters of war. William Lloyd Garrison, 
founder of the "Non-resistance Movement/' scoffed at such 
humbug when he wrote: *'A man must not kill, else he is a 
murderer. Two, ten, or a hundred men are murderers if they 
kill. But a nation may kill, and for ten thousand men to 
murder one another is even a good and praiseworthy action. ' ' ^ 

1 1 have not his exact words by me. — Translator. 


Having stated this fact, he then innocently asks how many 
human beings must there really he for them to he allowed to 
hreak God's command? 

Victor Hugo likewise asks, perhaps still more pointedly: 
** When will nations realize that to magnify a crime can never 
make it smaller f If killing is really wrong, then it cannot 
possibly be an extenuating circumstance that it was done on 
a large scale; if stealing is disgraceful, then there can be 
nothing glorious in taking a province.** 

In La Rochefoucauld 's * * Maximes ' ' ^ the same opinion oc- 
curs, ironically put: **I1 y a des crimes qui deviennent in- 
nocents et meme glorieux par leur eclat, leur nombre et leur 
exces. De la vient que les voleries publiques sont des 
habilites, et que prendre des provinces, s'appelle faire des con- 

And now let us see what a German has to say. Schiller puts 
similar words into the mouth of his Fiesco: *'It is disgrace- 
ful to empty a purse, impudent to embezzle a million, but in- 
expressibly grand to steal a crown. The shame decreases with 
the increase of the sin.'* Schiller's Genoese character, it is 
true, does not mean this ironically, but he, too, has to die, 
and just because he has said this. 

Thus English, French, and German men of letters seem to 
have agreed upon this question. Above all in Germany, the 
land of justice, this reflection frequently occurs in one form 
or another. For instance, Johann Gottfried Seume ^ has the 
following striking lines: 

Wenn Banditen nur mit Dolchen morden, 
Bleicht man ihren Schadel auf dem Holz. 
Aber wenn der Heldentross in Horden 
Lander wiirgt, so sind die Helden stolz. 

1 La Rochefoucauld: "Maximes et reflexions morales," 1795. 

2 J. G. Seume, "Aus der Elegie auf einem Feste zu Warschau," 
("From an Elegy on a Warsaw Fort"), 1794. Seume knew something 
of war, having fought in the American War of Independence, although 
as a German constrained to fight on the side of the English oppressors. 


Dureh der Politiken schiefe Brille 
1st Moralitat ein Possenspiel, 
Und Gerechtigkeit nur eine Grille, 
Die in Philosophenschadel fiel. 

Friedrich Hebbel ^ phrases it still more pathetically when 
he says mankind cannot but blush for its worst members : 

Der Rauber braucht die Faust nur hin und wieder, 
Der Morder treibt sein Werk nicht oline Grauen, 
Du hast das Amt zu rauben und zu toten I 

§ 66. — The Theory and Practice of Noble War 

The privilege of theoretically explaining how it may be 
right to apply force was, however, reserved for our own times. 
We used to be content to describe the formalities connected 
with placing might before right as legal, or at any rate as fair. 

From time immemorial endeavors have been made to draft 
rules which would enable an enemy country to be decorously 
destroyed. In so doing the false analogy of ** peaceful com- 
petition" has often been quoted, or, as was done recently by 
the German Emperor, Chrysippos's - words repeated, that *'in 
running a race not even the runner must lay a hand on his 
competitor's shoulder, or put out a leg to trip him up." 

But even for sports these rules fluctuate, and the Idi Jidzu 
allows a leg to be put out. War is assuredly no sport, but 
deadly earnest, and the essential distinction between sport 
and serious fight is that in the latter there is no doubt about 
its being allowable to put out a leg; at all events, it is done. 

Whoever abides by rules and regulations, however, '* saves 
his face," and accordingly there has always been a code of 
honor for belligerents; and the more horrible the methods of 
warfare and the more highly civilized the combatants, the 
more stress was laid on its outward application. *'Thus in 
the savage wars of the Diadochi a chivalry was obsen^able 

1 Friedrich Hebbel, "Die menschliche Gesellschaft am Schleideweg^' 
("Human Society at the Parting of the Ways"), 1841. 

2 Cf. Cicero "De Officiis," Book III, Chap. 10. 


seldom found otherwise in fighting in ages long past. ' ' ^ This 
code of honor, however, varied very greatly. In Alexander's 
time night attacks seem to have been proscribed. At any 
rate, he is reported to have said to Polyperchon, who advised 
him to attack Darius by night, that ' ' he would rather have to 
bewail a defeat than blush for a victory" ("malo me fortunae 
poeniteat, quam victoriae pudeat").- 

The Florentines considered surprise attacks improper. At 
any rate, Machiavelli ^ says how, four weeks before declaring 
war, they rang the **Martinella," a particular bell kept for 
the purpose; while as for the ancient Teutons, it is known 
that they made sure that wind and sun were equally in favor 
of themselves and their enemies. 

The ancient Islamites were not allowed to wage war in the 
holy month of Rhamasan, and in Christian countries 'not so 
long since it was the general custom for fighting to cease on 
Sundays and holidays. Similar customs are narrated of many 
other peoples, but they seem to have been merely exceptions, 
resorted to when victory was believed to be assured. In any 
case, no such scruples prevented Alexander from crossing the 
Danube by night in order to surprise the Getes, whom other- 
wise he was unable to conquer, or from similarly attacking 
the careless Illyrians by night. The Florentines, indeed, 
never had much opportunity of ringing the Martinella, for in 
their palmy days they chiefly devoted themselves to science 
and art, and did not wage any serious wars until the days of 
the republic were numbered. Consequently they could not 
become expert military strategists ; but, after all, Florence did 
produce Machiavelli, and even supposing him to have been 
as utterly unscrupulous as we were taught at school, yet the 
tendencies of his ** seven books on the arts of war" and of 
his "Prince" are very much against any such things as Mar- 

1 W. Wagner, "Hellas, Land, und Volk der alten Griechen," II, p. 662. 

2 Quintus Ciirtiiis TV, 13. 

3 Machiavelli, "Istorie fiorentine": Florence, 1532. 


tinella bells. Even that greatly extolled Teuton Hermann 
von Cheruskia, departing from what was supposed to be Ger- 
man tradition, contrived skilfully to exploit the climatic condi- 
tions of the Teutoburg wood to his own advantage. In order 
to be able to make war even in the holy month, Mohammed 
simply modified his religion, and Sunday rest in warfare has 
long been abolished. Indeed, despite all the pope's efforts, 
it was not possible to induce the belligerents to have a brief 
armistice to keep Christmas, when, according to Christian 
tradition, the angels announced "peace on earth.'* 

Fine words in general were always chiefly reserved for of- 
ficial ministerial utterances. In practice Lysander's ^ saying 
was followed, that, **if a lion's skin is not enough, a fox's hide 
must be taken. ' ' If strength did not suffice, then a little craft 
was resorted to as well. 

Any one trusting too much to international rules of war; 
any one who went as a flag-of-truce man to the enemy, as for 
instance Count JMontfort went to the Count von Nassau at 
the defense of the Pont-a-Mousson, which has again become 
celebrated of late, was only accounted a fool, and taken pris- 
oner.^ Similarly even Napoleon on the Bellerophon did not 
find that "hospitality" for which he had hoped, and which he 
was perhaps entitled to expect. 

In reality it has always been thus. The oldest war was de- 
cided by a horse being smuggled in, and Socrates 's pupil, 
Xenophon, in his "Cyropaidia" recommends many and abom- 
inable military stratagems, and, what is more, in his "Ana- 
basis" he applies them. The Japanese attacked the Russian 
fleet without having declared war; the Emden stuck on a 
fourth funnel ; the English use the flags of neutral countries, 
etc.^ But every one considers his own particular stratagem 
allowable, and only those of the enemy not allowable. 

1 Cf. Plutarch's "Lysander," C. IV, c. 

2C'f. Montaigne's "Essais," Livre I, Chap. 5, 1580. ("Wliether the 
captaine of a place besieged ought to sallie forth to parlie.'') 

3 Even Dr. Nicolai does not seem always above repeating unproved 


Non armis sed vitiis certatur — war is not waged with weap- 
ons but with crimes. The victor is always right. 

Fu il vincer sempremai laudabile cosa 
Vincasi o per fortuna, o per ingenio.^ 

And since this is so, and since strategy evidently always 
succeeds better than strength, and nothing matters but success, 
wars in all civilized nations are gradually becoming more 
horrible and unchivalrous. 

The ''noble war'* between Csesar and Pompey, in which 
neither general ever forgot his respect for the other, was fol- 
lowed by the struggle between the triumvirs and Caesar's mur- 
derers, which was carried on with every kind of slander and 
contemptibleness. And wall any one deny the Franco-Prus- 
sian War having been more chivalrous than that of 1914 ? 

Treaties, however sacred, make no difference, for, as Beth- 
mann-Hollweg quite rightly told the British ambassador, in 
war-time they are scraps of paper. In actual fact, even now 
violations of the so-called Geneva Convention are the order of 
the day in all armies. Doctors, military hospitals, and 
churches are fired upon as often as "tactical conditions" re- 
quire. Men anxious to surrender are killed, either "because 
the enemy abuses the white flag," or even without any ex- 
cuse, merely in obedience to instructions to "give no quar- 
ter. ' ' Furthermore, every one is killed now if, in view of the 
situation in general, it may be taken for granted that they 
would surrender if only they were asked. Within the same 
category of actions must be included the dropping of bombs 
by airmen on undefended towns, and likewise the sinking of 
trading-vessels without allowing the crews time to save their 
lives. No one can be reproached for such actions; thej^ are 
the laws or, rather, the customs, of war; and it is no mere 
chance that both the most modern weapons of war have made 

and unprovable statements of the German press during this war. — 

1 Ariosto, "Orlando Furioso," Canto XV, v. 1. 1516. 


it possible still further to enhance the horrors of war. *'We 
have not got used to such weapons yet," it is alleged, which 
of all the surprises afforded by this war seems to me the most 

Two innocent, age-old dreams of mankind are now fulfilled, 
man, being the only genuine tribion,^ has used his brain for 
the invention of contrivances which make of him both a bird 
and a fish, for he is master of both the heights and the depths. 
He can fly over frontiers and dive under them. The idea 
germinates in the heads of the fortunate inventors, and the 
frontiers collapse ; and what makes the inventors still prouder 
is the consciousness of having promoted not merely technical 
science, but also the brotherhood of man. But, lo ! the mili- 
tary commandeer the invention, and use it solely to carry war 
over those frontiers hitherto erected against it by man's free 

How little specialists thought of such a possibility before 
the war came and more or less disturbed their mental balance 
may be shown by a single instance. A few years ago, when 
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ^ warned England to be prepared 
for emergencies, urging that with the help of submarines her 
supplies might be cut off and her people starved out. Admiral 
C. C. Penrose Fitzgerald wrote that he considered any such 
forward-looking measures unnecessary, for he did not believe 
that any civilized nation would torpedo unarmed and defense- 
less trading-vessels. 

Poor, sentimental Fitzgerald! So you, too, thought war 
was a game to be played in accordance with the rules of some 
congress or other, and now thousands of people must pay for 
your folly. But it may be that there are still people who 
would rather have been wrong with old Fitzgerald than have 
won a victory by means of submarines. 

1 Amphibion is an animal living in two elements ; as the frog, for 
instance, lives in the water and on land. A tribion is one living in 
three elements, as man can now do, and man only. 

2 Conan Doyle, "Danger! A Story of England's Peril." Published in 
1911 in the "Strand Magazine." 


§ 67. — The Value of Humanitarian Effort 

Despite all these absurdities, deep meaning and justifica- 
tion underlie all efforts, even those of the lowest nations, to 
make it appear as if there were a chivalrous side to war. 
Even the military honor of barbarians, for instance, forbids 
the use of poisoned weapons, though in the case of these primi- 
tive folk this was not agreed upon by any convention, but 
corresponded to deep-rooted and at the time very valuable 

The fighting on the plains of Troy and even the knightly 
battles of the IMiddle Ages consisted mainly in hand-to-hand 
fighting, in which the object was to vanquish your opponent 
by physical valor and skill. A poisoned lance-point would 
then have meant that victory would have been not to the 
better warrior, but to him who had contrived merely slightly 
to scratch his adversary. Hence the horror of "cowardly 
murder by poison,^* which is an innate and ineradicable in- 
stinct of all normal human beings. 

For like reasons formerly the "insidious bow'* was pro- 
scribed in the wars of Teutonic peoples, and the Second Lat- 
eran Council in 1139 forbade the use of the crossbow, of course 
only among Christians. To cause the death of heretics by 
this means was permissible.^ 

Even then this was of very slight avail, for only fifty years 
later Richard Coeur de Lion founded the first Crossbow Shoot- 
ers' Companies, and the crossbow soon became the favorite 
weapon of the Germans. It must be admitted, however, that 
these nations, in thus disregarding the papal injunctions, gave 
proof of a sound instinct; for even then fighting was begin- 
ning to develop into battles involving numbers of human be- 
ings and in which chivalry could no longer exercise any 
selective influence. Now and not till now did such prohibi- 
tions become meaningless, for an enemy miles away is fired 

2 A. Demmin, "Die Kriegswaffen" ("Weapons of War"), 1869: Leip- 
sic. P. 69. 


upon or the trenches are *' peppered" with machine-guns, 
more or less at a venture, and therefore it must be a mere 
chance whether any particular man is hit. The plain truth 
is that the more effective a projectile is to-day, the better it 
is for use in war. 

Yes, say the advocates of these wonderful humane theories, 
but all that is wanted is to put the enemy out of action; he 
ought not to be killed unnecessarily. In their wars against 
the Hottentots, they say, the British noticed that these sav- 
ages, if wounded only in the arm or even in the body with 
our modern small-caliber rifles, often continued to advance. 
In such case it was needful to have more powerful rifles ; but 
in Europe they are not needed. 

Now, first, it often happens with us that wounded men 
continue to fight or at any rate to shoot, and in particular 
experience shows that these slightly wounded men return to 
the front after a few weeks. In Germany eighty per cent, 
of all men included in war losses are said to be "slightly 
wounded." Now, even if they are out of action for the time 
being, they are by no means incai^able of taking any further 
part in the war, and indeed they continue fit for service until 
at length, even without Dumdum bullets, they are shot dead 
or crippled. At best, therefore, a ^'humane hulleV may be 
compared for mercifulness with cutting off a dog's tail bit 
by bit. The operation is not over till a certain amount of 
the tail is cut off, or, as the case may be, a certain proportion 
of the nation is out of action. 

Even those who do not or will not see the brutal logic of 
this, however, ought to be ashamed thus to tamper with the 
conception of humaneness. To-day, when all the most refined 
technical methods are in use, when wolves' lairs are dug, in 
which soldiers get impaled on stakes, and then slowly expire ; 
when barbed-wire entanglements are constructed, which are 
then "cleared" with machine-guns when enough "stuff" has 
got caught in them; when wire trellises are made, charged with 
electricity, and men left hanging dead in them like flies ; when 


the enemy's trenches are syringed with petroleum, so as to 
burn the people in them, or their unsuspecting occupants 
blown into the air by subterranean mines; to-day, when 
poisoned bombs are used; when "airmen's arrows," dropped 
from the air, pin the enemy, "like a frog,'* flat to the ground ; 
to-day, when shrapnel and grenades, prepared with the ut- 
most care in view of an explosion on the largest possible scale, 
are employed, and human beings are torn to pieces therewith ; 
to-day it is insisted that the Dumdum bullet is the acme of 
brutality. A German journalist, Herr Binder, calls it **besti- 
ally cruel," "one of the most barbarous methods of warfare 
known to history," as it is put in the telegram of his Majesty 
the German Emperor to President Wilson. 

The immense excitement caused in September by this Dum- 
dum bullet question, whereby even the German Emperor was 
induced to take the unusual step of addressing a formal pro- 
test to the President of the United States, can be explained 
only by man^s instinctive craving for genuine humaneness — a 
craving which has assumed such proportions, owing to this 
most cruel and horrible of all wars, that even the smallest 
** token of humaneness" appears worth striving after. 

Even Sternickel, the murderer who committed in cold blood 
a dozen murders and robberies combined, was proud of never 
having caused the death of a child, thinking this a sufficient 
concession to justice. Thus in every human being there is 
some trace of a sense of shame, and even the combatants to- 
day say, **True, we do murder and set on fire, plunder and 
pillage, and offend against the laws of Christian and human 
justice, but — we do not use Dumdum bullets" ! 

Such reasoning is not merely foolish, but even dangerous, 
for it makes men think that war is consistent with humaneness, 
and thus helps them to become accustomed to a horrible state 
of things. But we must not become accustomed to anything 
of the sort. If we want to remain members of the society 
of human beings we must consider war as at any rate some- 
thing extraordinary and abnormal. Modern humanitarian en- 


deavors to lessen the horrors of war are, it is true, frequently 
charity misdirected, but still they do proceed from charity, 
and a charity which, as might be proved, is fundamentally 

Now, just as the war instinct shows that courage and love 
of action still survive in mankind, — courage and action which 
only need directing into other channels, — so does this longing 
for humaneness prove the existence of something in mankind 
which is a guaranty for the future. We may, for instance, 
consider rules about Dumdum bullets virtually useless and 
possibly even ridiculous; yet we may and even ought to 
do everything in our power to insure the observance of such 
rules. However small may be the concession made, it still is 
a concession, and we are thereby rid of a bit of war. 

From this point of view even the Geneva Convention and 
the prohibition of Dumdum bullets are valuable; and it is 
some satisfaction to be able to state that no nation seems pur- 
posely to have infringed this prohibition. True, such bullets 
have been found in the hands of subjects of all nations. 
Dumdum bullets, indeed, are manufactured by government 
ammunition factories in all countries,^ for hunting and other 
purposes for soldiers' rifles. Whenever towns are conquered, 
parcels of such bullets are of course found, in Government 
wrappers. Besides this, it has happened in all armies that a 
few men, particularly officers who procure their own ammuni- 
tion, were intentionally provided with such cartridges; but 
it is one thing to make this statement and quite another to 
assert, as has been done by both belligerents, that the enemy 
systematically makes use of such bullets. 

There are other reasons, however, why such regulations are 
valuable. They are self-imposed limitations, adherence to 
which is a recognition in principle of the fact that the attain- 
ment of its objects in war is not a nation's highest goal. 

In 1839, when Belgium's ''perpetual neutrality" was pro- 

iThe official name for tliem in Germany is ''Hallmanielgeschosse," 
^hich jmight be rendered as "half-length cheat bullets." — Translator. 



claimed, Germany and France in particular made war be- 
tween each other more difficult ; and from that day forth they 
knew that an impassable wall was erected along the frontier 
of this neutral land — a wall based on their own agreement. 

In 1856, when the Declaration of Paris insured captured 
vessels being brought before a proper prize court,^ man made 
it impossible for himself clandestinely to sink vessels, of which 
the old naval ballads of all seafaring peoples used to boast 
as a heroic action.^ 

In 1899, when the Second Declaration of the Hague Con- 
vention forbade the use of asphyxiating or poisonous gases, 
mankind voluntarily deprived itself of one of the most ef- 
fective weapons, and one which, with the ever-increasing 
discoveries of modem technical science, promised every day to 
become more valuable. 

But whatever our opinion of the value or importance of 
such conventions, the fact remains that, once they have been 
concluded, discussion about them must cease; for henceforth, 
if they are violated, not merely is harm done to the enemy, 
but the violator's own honor is irreparably injured. Nothing 
in this war, therefore, is so deplorable as the violation of Bel- 
gium neutrality, submarine warfare, and the use of asphyxiat- 
ing gases ; for thereby not merely are human lives destroyed, 
but human honor. 


§ 68. — Beasons for This 

It takes two players to play chess, and to play at war it 
takes only two generals, though the armies in this case do not 

1 The details were enacted for Germany by the law of May 3, 1884. 
"Short proceedings" are perhaps allowable on board captured vessels in 
certain circumstances, but at any rate their papers must be properly 

2 Cf. for instance the English ballad, "There was a ship that sailed," 
in which the captain's boy swims up to aud secretly bores a hole in a 
Spanish galleon. 


consist of wood or ivory figures, but of flesh-and-blood human 
beings. True, of late even war has become an industrial un- 
dertaking, and thus even here machinery to a certain extent 
competes with the laboring classes, so much so that those per- 
sons ever anxious to find catchwords, and wrong catchwords, 
for everything have even spoken of a *^ machine war.^* But 
mankind has not yet got so far. In other branches of life 
machinery, it is true, has become marvelously independent of 
assistance from human hands; but in war the musketeer is 
still more important than the musket, and the gunner than the 

That war should be so surprisingly retrograde, considering 
the high standard of our technical knowledge, is due to quite 
simple and universal human characteristics. First, there cer- 
tainly does still lurk in men's minds an instinctive feeling 
that war to-day is some kind of degenerate sport, which is 
scarcely worth while unless one is actually there oneself. 
Moreover, sportsmen have an * 'antipathy' ' to all modem im- 
provements. Thus a ''true yachtsman'' would rather be in 
constant danger of eapsizing than get a practical patent reef. 
There are many more of these harmless sportsman-like preju- 
dices, such as the huntsman's preference for his double-bar- 
reled gun rather than a modern "Browning," and the old 
angler's preference for his lob-worm rather than an artificial 
fly. A rider of the good old school despised the comfortable 
English trot,^ which until recently was actually forbidden in 
the German Army; while, as for the South Sea Islander, he 
does not even think of exchanging his bow for a modem rifle. 

Now, the soldier takes a similar point of view, thereby mak- 
ing himself more indispensable, and hindering the develop- 
ment of military science. Another instance of the soldier's 
tendency to lag behind the times is the following. Two re- 
markably practical inventions, such as torpedoing in the dark 
and destroying whole regiments by poisonous gases, meet with 

iFor a year it has been called a "light trot," but riding-masters 
sometimes make slips of the tongue. 


considerable resistance, for the soldier continues to lag behind 
technicians and chemists, who are bound by no chivalrous 

"What has chiefly stood in the way of military science being 
vigorously developed, however, is that the modern soldier is 
so cheap. Formerly a soldier had a certain value. A gen- 
eral had, let us say, fifty thousand soldiers, and used them, 
and when they were all shot down, the war was simply lost. 
Consequently, he was careful how he made war, and sacrificed 
as few men as possible. Now, however, he has an inexhaust- 
ible reservoir to draw upon in the shape of the nation as a 
whole; and wherever this reservoir is largest, as in the case 
of the Russians, then, judging from the reports of the gen- 
eral staff, men are sacrificed most senselessl}^ and cold-blood- 
edly. Even in Germany, especially in the early days of the 
war, there was not much economy of human lives, at all events 
in comparison with former wars. Cheap human material, 
however, is always and everywhere used for all manner of 
things that could quite well be done by machinery, just as 
the cheapness of the coolie in China at present has hitherto 
prevented modem machinery being used to any very great 

In naval warfare alone, with its torpedoes, floating mines, 
etc., machinery is now perforce somewhat used to replace hu- 
man labor, although in this case ships are involved of which 
each dozen cost about $250,000,000 to build, and therefore 
represent very considerable sums. 

Moreover, war is essentially unproductive. ** Necessity 
teaches man to pray,'* it is said, and perhaps it really has 
taught many to pray. But, at all events, necessity teaches 
man to work, and necessity is the mother of invention; for, 
as Goethe says, ** necessity is the best counselor." Professor 
Ostwald even thinks that necessity was the mother of all great 
inventions, because the only inventions ever made have been 
those necessitated by circumstances. 

Now, necessity being so good a teacher, it might be thought 


that the great necessities of war must necessarily have pro- 
duced great inventions. This, however, is not the case, for 
the method and purpose of war are to appropriate the fruits 
of others' work without working oneself. War therefore, 
does not teach man to work, and consequently does not teach 
him to invent either, inventions being always the fruit of 

Again, war is generally merely a passing phase, and there 
is not time to profit by the necessity it brings, which, more- 
over, is too great, and too great necessity' acts as a check. For 
instance, arctic peoples, who have had to contend too much 
against the severity of nature, and have produced no original 
inventions of their own. Of course if a war lasts as long as 
this one, and absorbs all the intellectual and material forces 
of the nations, it is not surprising if there should be a 
few inventions while it is going on. There can be not the 
slightest doubt, however, that future statistics will prove that 
the average annual number of inventions in Europe during 
the war was smaller — much smaller in comparison — than in 
any correspondingly long period we may select in the last few 
decades. At any rate, it is a fact that not a single past war 
has ever anj^where been the cause of any noteworthy invention, 
which again is but one more proof of the comparative unim- 
portance of war for the human race. 

Hunger and anxiety about daily bread have sought out 
many inventions. They taught man how to cultivate the soil 
and how to breed domestic animals; they invented the plow 
and all other agricultural implements and machinery; they 
taught man to hunt and to fish, and even effected improve- 
ments in firearms. And it was love, that other great necessity 
to which man is subject — love and the impulse to make ad- 
vances to others, which led to speech and writing, to the build- 
ing of roads, the equipment of ships, and eventually to all 
modern means of communication. W^ar, however, as I shall 
now proceed to show, has virtually taught mankind nothing. 

The one astonishing result of this war is that the economic 


distress caused by it is not giving rise to more inventions ; but 
this is understandable when it is reflected that men of high 
attainment used to take scarcely any interest in war, and 
that w^orkshops and laboratories are now mostly deserted. In 
particular the young men, whose ideas are still young and 
new,^ are all at the front. ^ 

IMoreover, upheaval in all commercial life must of course 
stand in the way of any really serious efforts to promote civili- 

§ 69.— What Are the Facts ? 

"When first invented, the sword, in the true sense of the 
word, was meant for a plowshare, and not used by men of 
war until later.^ But now that they had their weapon, 
they were actually incapable of improving it; it is an ascer- 
tained fact, to which Peschel ^ first drew attention, that weap- 
ons requiring some skill in their management, such as bows 
and arrows, have been evolved only among hunting peoples, 
while agricultural peoples fight with the spear, which is much 
easier to handle. 

This continued to be the case even in historical times. 
Between ancient times and the beginning of the nineteenth 
century war material hardly improved at all, and military 
science hardly developed at all. Even the use of black powder 
for shooting, which came into vogue in Europe in the thir- 
teenth century, made little difl:'erence; and after the first 
blunderbusses reechoed at Crecy in 1346, there was no further 
change in anything for half a century. 

Moreover, firearms came into use very gradually, and no- 
where did they produce any far-reaching effects. James Feni- 
more Cooper's Indian novels made us imagine that the ''rifles 

1 As the contemporary Swedish physiologist Tigerstadt has shown, 
virtually all men of genius made their principal discoveries before the 
age of thirty, and, we may certainly add, before their forty-fifth year. 

2Cf. Ludwig Noire's "Das Werkzeug" ("Tools"). 

aOskar Peschcl's "Volkerkunde" ("Ethnology"). 1874, fifth edition, 
1881, pp. 183-186. 


of the palefaces" conquered the redman. There is of course 
some truth in this, but the importance of the rifle is over- 
estimated. Cortez, for instance, after his ''noche triste** 
("night of sorrow") had not a single rifle left, and the victory 
of Otumba^ was decided in his favor by "crossbows and 
Toledo swords." 

It is likewise significant that, even at the beginning of the 
sixteenth century, Machiavelli,^ according to his "Art of 
War," would have had half the infantry armed in "Roman 
fashion" with sword and shield. Of the other troops he would 
have provided some "with pikes, like the Swiss," and some 
with long-distance weapons, such as "crossbows or muskets." 
In the Spanish armies shields were not given up till some time 
in the seventeenth century, and in the armies of the Thirty 
Years' War there were, on an average, twice as many pikesmeu 
as musketeers; consequently only about one third of the foot 
soldiers can have been provided with firearms. Only grad- 
ually did the proportion of soldiers with firearms increase, and 
in the Wars of Liberation the first file of the Prussian last line 
— one third of the whole number — were originally armed with 
pikes. In general, however, at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century the pike had been replaced by the bayonet, at all 
events in regular armies. 

Lances, or weapons resembling them, such as scythes, how- 
ever, continued to be used till far on in the nineteenth 
century in revolutionary armies, volunteer corps, and when- 
ever the last line was called up. Every one has heard of 
the Paris pikesmen of the French Revolution, and of the 
Polish and Hungarian scythesmen, and even in this war, for 
instance, in the fighting near Arras in the autumn of 1914, 
dismounted French cavalrymen, armed with lances, have taken 
part in infantry bayonet-fights. Even now there are good 
"military instructors" who assert that the most important 
engagements are decided only by hand-to-hand fighting; and 

1 July 7, 1520, over the Mexicans. 

2 Machiavelli's ^'Dell' arte della guerra," 1636. I, VII. 


if, owing to a quite natural tendency to overestimate modern 
military science, there may have been an inclination to doubt 
this, there are our general staff reports to prove that in this 
war there really has been a reversion to methods of fighting 
which are comparatively very primitive. 

Thus on June 14, 1915, the Austrians attempted to destroy 
the Italians, as the latter were advancing in the gorges of 
the Cima Norre, by means of boulders, which they hurled down 
on them from the rocky sides of the Belfiore. Now, history 
teaches us that this is a method of fighting to which even the 
anthropoids used to resort. Again, the German colonial 
forces in East Africa are said to have used bees as a means of 
defense,^ which is unquestionably practical, but which had 
been forgotten in Europe since the Thirty Years' War, and, 
as far as I know, had never been used in the interval save by 
a few Australian blacks. As to whether the statement of our 
general staff that Russian troops were armed with ** oaken 
clubs" is to be taken literally or not, no opinion need be offered 
here. After all, certain present-da}^ methods of warfare are 
absolutely medieval. 

Let us consider how much has been invented since the 
year 1300. Compasses, clocks and w^atches, thermometers, 
barometers, telescopes and microscopes, enable observations to 
be made with an accuracy undreamed of before. From Ger- 
many the art of printing spread over the whole world; the 
primitive weaver's loom was replaced first by Cartwright's 
mechanical loom, and afterward by that of Jacquard. The 
magical science of alchemy became metamorphosed into scien- 
tific chemistry. Galilei and Newton laid anew the base of 
physjcs; the foundations of electrical knowledge were estab- 
lished, and it was speedily put to practical use in the lightning- 
conductor; steam-engines and balloons were invented; gas was 
introduced for lighting purposes; the technical processes of 
glass and porcelain manufacture were modernized : in short, 

1 Beeliivfs are thrown into tlie enemy's ranks, and the angry insects 
cause disorder among the soldiers by stinging them. 


science and technical knowledge everywhere advanced. War, 
however, had neither part nor lot in all this, albeit in this 
period there was no lack of war. Nor did any one even take 
any trouble to utilize a single one of these inventions for 
military purposes. Matters continued thus until about the 
end of the eighteenth or beginning of the nineteenth century 
national armies came into existence, and the average middle- 
class man had to devote his wits to the noble business of war- 
fare. This did not have the effect of making war more crea- 
tive, but at all events military men learned from thenceforth 
to take advantage of inventions already made. 

Accordingly, explosives were considerably improved. In 
1800 an Englishman, Edward Howard, invented fulminate of 
mercury, and eighteen years later Egg, the engineer, con- 
structed percussion-caps from it. In 1846 the German chem- 
ist Schonbein invented gun-cotton, and a French chemist, 
Sobrero, the following year invented nitro-glycerin. Twenty 
years later Alfred Nobel produced the first dynamite. All 
these inventions, however, were nowise intended for war, but 
for mining and mining only; and it was almost as if he 
wished to atone for the disastrous use — a use which he did 
not intend — made of his invention for the wholesale destruc- 
tion of human beings that Nobel founded his peace prize. 

Meantime not only explosives were being perfected, but 
also firearms. Napoleon's soldiers still fought with the old 
flintlock, in which scarcely any improvement had been effected 
since the Thirty Years' War. Drevse's needle-gun of 1827, 
Colt's revolver of 1831, the Mauser rifle in 1863, and Mann- 
licher's repeating-rifle of 1878, are all phases in this new 
development. At the same time in cannon the transition to 
breech-loaders was proceeding, calibers were tending to be- 
come larger and larger, and resort was being had to technical 
inventions, such as recoiling-barrels. The invention of the 
Whitehead torpedo in 1867 must also not be forgotten. 

That war had an indirect influence on these improvements 
in firearms cannot perhaps be denied, although in war itself 


no improvement has ever been made ; but here again it would 
be necessary to inquire how much must be ascribed to improve- 
ments in guns for hunting purposes. Even if we set every- 
thing down to war, however, this would be the sum total of 
what war has achieved in the domain of inventions ; and what 
is that in a century of such unparalleled technical advance ? 

It is true that war has gradually learned to utilize inven- 
tions for its own purposes. Here, again, war is a Moloch, de- 
vouring everything, and usurping for himself inventions made 
for peace. Just as war commandeers wheat and gold, so 
does it take possession of ideas, which is perhaps the worst 
thing about it. The telegraph and the railway, steamers and 
motor-cars, have been drawn into its service. Hardly had 
Monier suggested making buildings of concrete than fortifica- 
tions began to be built of it. Graham Bell's telephone and 
Marconi's wireless telegraphy were immediately utilized for 
war. "When Schuckert constructed his search-light, or Gruson 
or Krupp invented some new steel composite material, all 
were instantly used for some military purpose. Some few 
modem inventions, indeed, such as airships and submarines, 
are used almost exclusively for war. If it occurs to our mili- 
tary men, however, to use the airships presented to them for 
attacking England, they are no more inventors on that ac- 
count than Mr. Brown when he has his private house connected 
by telephone with his office. 

§ 70. — The Mischief of Overestimating the Art of War 

To apply inventions in this way is cheap ; and just because 
the European military spirit has suffered a great many in- 
ventions to be reserved for military purposes, and because a 
new invention can scarcely ever command any goverenment 
assistance unless it seems as if it might be of some importance 
in war, an erroneous impression might prevail that war in 
some way or other promotes technical advance. There is 
no doubt whatever that in a sense the science of arms, which 
is very handsomely supported by government, can develop 


in quite a different way from the peaceful science of me- 
chanical construction, which is embarrassed by considerations 
of what will pay and what will not. Circumstances have so 
greatly favored the manufacture of iron plates, for instance, 
that it has really been the case of many improvements, by 
which the business of iron foundries in general and, indeed, 
all technical science have benefited. 

But it would be wrong to call technical science an enemy 
of civilization because it has been responsible for various 
murderous contrivances. Similarly it would be wrong to 
ascribe to war as war a beneficial effect on technical science. 
If government would pay the iron industry as much for its 
peaceful products as it now pays for its warlike ones, the 
results would be fully as satisfactory. True, the largest in- 
comes in Europe were those of Krupp, the Cannon King, 
and Nobel, the Dynamite King; but in more peaceful 
America there are wheat kings, steel kings, pig kings, and 
beer kings. 

Airships and aeroplanes are a melancholy confirmation of 
the truth of what has just been said. They are a new means 
of getting about, whereby men are brought closer together. 
Zarathustra 's dream of the overstepping of all boundaries 
seemed on the eve of fulfilment, and, lo ! militarism intervenes 
and converts this admirable instrument of peace into a 
weapon of war, albeit at present not a very dangerous one; 
and it seems as if every future success must have to do with 
war. We are still under the same delusion as that which 
led the youth athirst for knowledge to ask Archimedes to be 
good enough to initiate him into the *' divine art wherewith 
he had defended the walls of Syracuse against the Roman 
attacking machinery." But we have never yet understood 
what Archimedes meant by his reply that art was indeed 
"divine," but that was "before it was in the service of the 

Inventions which serve a warlike purpose are no less over- 
estimated than war itself. The invention of powder alone has 


actually passed into a proverb/ which would never have been 
the case had people known that Berthold Schwarz did not in- 
vent it for any warlike purpose, but that gunpowder was a 
very ancient invention of the Chinese, who used it for pur- 
poses of amusement and for fireworks. 

The enormous quantities of materials used in war have 
deeply impressed many persons, but even from this point, of 
view war will not stand the test of serious criticism. Our 
estimating" a country's technical development by the number 
of dreadnoughts which it is able to construct simultaneously 
merely proves that in our iron age there is no money for peace- 
ful works of civilization. Moreover, large as men-of-war may 
be, modern liners are larger. A forty-two centimeter 
Morser is assuredly huge, but our own telescopes, rotary 
presses, etc., are still huger. Architecture has certainly added 
more to its laurels by building churches and modern market 
buildings than by building fortifications and barracks. With 
the two and half million cubic meters of stone from the 
Pyramid of Cheops alone it would be possible to build thrice 
over the Aurelian Wall encircling the Eternal City — a wall 
which is one of the most powerful defense works that have ever 

Even the very extensive excavations necessitated by mod- 
ern trench warfare are as nothing compared with what was 
needed in the construction of the Panama Canal, for instance. 
If Germany were entirely surrounded with a triple line of 
trenches, each six feet six inches deep by two feet six inches 
broad, it would only be necessary to throw up 20,000,000 
cubic meters of earth, not much more than was dredged up out 

1 For instance, "Er hat das Pulver nicht arfunden" ( French : "II n*a 
pas ini'ente la poudre" ) , which may be rendered as "He '11 never set the 
Thames on fire"; and "er ist keinen Schuss Pulver wert," "he is not 
worth powder and shot." — ^Translator. 

2 According to Diodorus, indeed, 15.000,000 cubic meters went to build 
the walls of Nineveh, but his statements, as Rich and Ainsworh have 
shown, are pure invention. Still more fantastic and equally untrue are 
Heredotus's statements about the walls of Babylon, wliich were supposed 
to have required about 80,000,000 cubic meters of material. 


of the Panama Canal every year. In short, even in the 
matter of vastness war has no remarkable achievement to its 

War utilizes all technical expedients, but did not create 
them. Even so astonishing a construction as the forty- two- 
centimeter howitzer is not really in any sense a revolutionary 
invention, but at best an enlargement of and perhaps also an 
improvement on something already existing. Even the old 
Mongol chief Batu Khan ^ knew that those who throw stones 
had best throw as large ones as possible; and he is said to 
have caused the fall of the fortress of Kieff^ in an amaz- 
ingly short time merely because of the enormous size of the 
stones from his stone-throwing machines. Yet no one has 
ever called this ancient Mongol prince a *' Goethe of action" ; ^ 
and all I should like to know is whether the newspaper scribe 
who once ventured to insult the German people by comparing 
one of Krupp's officials with Goethe can now even remember 
the former's name. 

Can even asphyxiating bombs be considered an invention? 
Why, even Hannibal ordered the throwing of earthen vessels 
tilled with poisonous snakes, and later on beehives were fre- 
quently used for the same purpose. Consequently, it is no 
very epoch-making idea to replace an animal poison by a 
chemical one. Moreover, here again the Mongols were before 
us, for it is narrated that even in 1241 they caused confusion 
in the ranks of the Polish and German armies by the use of 

iDied 1256. Grandson of Jenghiz Khan. — Translator. 

2 Kieff fell in 1239. 

3 My friend Roaemeier has succeeded in proving by very painstaking 
investigations that the Tatars (Mongols) were by no means the nation 
of barbarians they were long thought to be. They were far in advance 
of their age, and five hundred years ago had already attained a degree 
of military efficiency which the European nations of to-day are slowly 
struggling to attain. In this respect they were doubtless even in ad- 
vance of Prussia. [Dr. Nicolai's friend, Dr. Hermann Rosemeier, who 
until September, 1914, was political editor of the "Berliner Morgenpost," 
was forced, because of his democratic views, to take refuge in Switzer- 
land during the war. — Translator. 


asphyxiating gases. This cannot be absolutely vouched for, 
but there is nothing incredible in it. Even supposing it were 
not true, however, the fact of the idea having been handed 
down by tradition proves it to have existed in past times; 
and if it were not put into practice, this would merely indicate 
that the Mongols shrank from doing certain things from which 
we to-day no longer shrink. Let us hope, therefore, that this 
particular Mongol story is true.^ 

And what else is there? Airmen's bombs, petroleum 
squirts, trenches, felt-covered helmets, field gray or khaki uni- 
forms — these are the other most remarkable *' inventions. '* 
The fear of a shortage of food and raw materials generally has, 
it is tnie, given rise to all manner of suggestions in Germany. 
Hans Friedenthal of Berlin recommended making flour out of 
straw, and Professor Grabner of Dahlem making it from bul- 
rush heads. Professor Jacoby, an analytical chemist, of Tii- 
bingen, *' discovered" that "reindeer moss" could be used as a 
substitute for starch; Dr. Kobert, a Rostock professor, urges 
having bread baked out of blood, adding as a recommendation 
that blood-cakes taste better than black puddings,^ but without 
stating how black puddings do taste. Yet another suggestion, 
in which there is nothing new, is that sugar, if fermented, 
can be converted into albumen, in doing which, however, a 
great deal of nutriment is wasted. All which has hitherto 
proved of scarcely any practical value. Moreover, the sug- 
gestions quite obviously relate to comparatively unimportant 

"What really might be argued with some reason is that the ex- 
traction of ammonia from the air with the aid of electricity, 
a process long known to science, has become of more practical 
importance owing to the exhaustion of the supplies of salt- 
peter, and that in this respect our industry really has ad- 

1 '" Tartar ermachricht" is the German word, which means a blood- 
curdling story. The play upon words is impossible to give back. — 

2 The word used for "black pudding" is "Blutpudding." — Translator. 


vanced during the war. Similarly the substitute for man- 
ganese in steel production/ the substitution of home-grown 
india-rubber for india-rubber proper, and many other sub- 
stitutes aU betoken progress. But here ag-ain it must be left 
to the future to decide whether these war substitutes 
w^ill be able to hold their own in the open competition 
of peace. In any case they are only a very indirect result 
of war, and their true cause, like that of all inventions, 
was economic necessity. 

War, in short, is the enemy of the civilian and of all civilian 


§ 71. — The DecUne of Comradeship 

Solidarity and soldiery are two words which sound much 
alike, and also mean much the same thing. Even the ancients 
held that fighting brought men nearer one another, which 
Diodorus explains thus, *'When primitive men were attacked 
by animals, they used to lend one another assistance, as ne- 
cessity taught them to do. ' ' There can be no doubt whatever 
that old Diodorus was right. Man's utter defenselessness 
forced him to help his fellow-man, and thus stern Nature 
forged for her poorest child the weapons wherewith that child 
afterward ruled his teacher. 

Modern man is not such a conscientious thinker as Diodorus. 
He does not believe that the struggle against animals and the 
elements gave rise to the oldest form of association, but ac- 
tually presumes to talk of association when a handful of hu- 
man beings join together in order to oppose the conception of 
human solidarity. The army, which is there to give prac- 
tical demonstration of man's not yet having reached the level 
of considering every one his neighbor, is instanced as the 
best and most striking expression of good fellowship. 

1 The new hard-tempered kinds of steel are said to be much superior, 
making it possible to bore big guns now much faster than formerly. 


The things of this world, however, are such a topsy-turvy 
mixture, that even here there lurks a grain of truth; and al- 
though the army has not been a school of brotherly love, we 
can still, as time goes on, trace the growth of brotherly love 
in connection with and about it. One thing is certain: not 
until two combatants' friends go to their help does a duel be- 
come a war {duellum become helium) ; and the assembling of 
an army proves at all events the presence of social impulses, 
and is assuredly one of the oldest ways consciously adopted by 
human beings of acting in concert. 

That others come to the assistance of a single combatant, 
moreover, proves that they consider his claims justifiable, and 
for this cause war is on a higher rung of the social ladder 
than is a dispute between persons. But this fundamental idea 
of obtaining justice, which quite probably led to the forma- 
tion of the first armies, was afterward lost sight of. Grad- 
ually a separation came about in the army, and the old duke, 
whom the peoples once chose as primus inter pares, became an 
officer belonging to a special caste apart from the mass of 
the people : and as in the army this severance is more rigidly 
enforced than anywhere else in the social scale, and splits it 
up into two entirely distinct parts, it may now be described 
as something more like a model of bad fellowship. 

Frederick William I knew what he was about when he abol- 
ished the principle *'that to obtain a commission in the army 
all that is necessary is considerable skill in dealing with army 
mechanism,"^ thus converting the officers from merely a 
superior class of soldiers into a ** class apart,'' whose mem- 
bers were as a matter of course not common soldiers from the 
ranks, but scions of the nobility (pages or squires). 

This is still the case to-day, and the system is more or less 
imitated in other armies also, even in France, where every 
soldier is supposed to carry a *' baton de marechaV in his 
knapsack, any private can, at all events in theory, still attain 

i"Geschichte des preusischen Landwehr" ("History of the Prussian 
Militia"), by R. BrUuer. Mittler & Sohn: Berlin. P. 25. 


to the highest dignities, whereas in the German Army this is 
not even legally possible. That the nobility were originally 
specially selected to become officers ought not to surprise us. 
Perhaps there was nothing else to be done because the com- 
paratively well-educated middle-classes would then have flatly 
declined to degrade themselves by becoming drill sergeants of 
the despised soldiery. 

German Liberals are fond of ventilating the question 
whether the nobility is favored in the army, and whether the 
prerogatives of nobility are or are not identical with an offi- 
cer's prerogatives; but this is of comparatively little impor- 
tance. No one doubts that the officers as a body are absolutely 
exclusive. True, there is no legal basis for this exclusiveness, 
nor indeed any other basis beyond the fact that an officer has 
a right of precedence at the Prussian court. This privilege, 
however, trifling as it may seem, has sufficed to cement court 
and officers together for all eternity ; and as the higher officers 
could be absolutely depended upon, it eventually became pos- 
sible to utilize the whole nation for manning the regiments 
without the latter developing into a people's army. The 
officers as a whole remained the cornerstone of reaction, pre- 
venting the *' democratic institution of a nation in arms" 
from really getting into the people's hands. Hence it can 
now truly be said that "the world is not so firmly fixed on 
Atlas's shoulders as Prussia on the shoulders of her army.'* 

Whenever there was any real work to be done — ^in war, that 
is to say, — even in early days ordinary citizens appeared 
among the officers as if by magic, and in 1813 these humbly 
born officers were even suffered to lay down their lives for their 
country, which they did with enthusiasm, albeit often without 
due recognition. Shortly after the regeneration of Prussia, 
for instance, we find the more recent official military writers 
endeavoring to prove that in 1806 the Prussian nobility was 
equal to the occasion, and that in 1813 it was not the people 
who saved the ruling caste, but, on the contrary, the ruling 
caste which saved the people. It is characteristic that an 


attempt should just now be made to prove that a citizen, 
Friecius, Major in the militia, is wholly undeserving of the 
monument erected to him at the Grimma Gate in Leipsic, and 
that it is Mirbach, a noble and an officer of the line, to whom a 
monument ought to have been erected. It must not be for- 
gotten, however, that even such men as Treitschke blamed 
*'the anxiety to screen the Prussian Guards, who as long ago 
as 1814 created so much ill feeling. ' * ^ 

This recent division among the officers themselves grad- 
ually increased, for we must now look for good-fellowship 
even within the German officers corps. Some German regi- 
ments are composed of nobles and others of ordinary citizens, 
some of guardsmen and linesmen, and others of members of 
the general staff and troopers. Then there are the grada- 
tions of cavalry and artillery, infantry and convoy-men; 
officers properly so called and ambulance officers, non-com- 
missioned officers and commissariat officers, subalterns and 
military officials; and each one of these classes and ''class- 
lets'' is a world in itself, anxiously defending its preroga- 

But this is not all. In the incalculably long and de- 
structive war of 1914r-1917 capable men are needed, not 
merely ordinary middle-class citizens, but even workiog- 
class men. But in peace-time what on earth is to be done with 
people "who themselves admit that their father was a carpen- 
ter"? So, as the favorite deputy officers had not enough 
authority, the temporary expedient was resorted to of creating 
color-sergeant lieutenants for show, as it were. That is, they 
were officers only as far as the enemy was concerned. 

§ 72. — Results of the Separation Between Officers and Men 

Now, the overwhelming majority of the German people con- 
sider this separation between officer and ** ranker" as quite 
right and proper. Therefore this state of things, regrettable 

1 Heinrich von Treitschke's speech at the War Memorial Celebrations. 
July 19, 1895. Hirzel: Leipsic. P. 9. 


as it may be, is not really unjust, though it does prove how 
little the army has done to promote the universal equality of 
man. Indeed, it proves how it has actually eradicated every 
vestige of feeling of equality. Moreover, as Germany has the 
best army, this has of course been done there more thoroughly 
than elsewhere. 

Among the common soldiers equality does exist, but an 
equality without liberty, the equality of a pack of slaves, 
all of them tools in the hands of their superiors. Such equal- 
ity, of course, must not be confounded with the instinct of 
human solidarity to which armies owe their origin. 

Formerly, when tribes were too distant to be able to exert 
any influence on one another, tribal community was the high- 
est form of association that man was able clearly to imagine ; 
and this he defended, as a tribal community, as a nation, or 
as an army. Man felt that there must be some such asso- 
ciation, and if the internal conditions of the different coun- 
tries had only continued as free and natural as when army and 
nation were one, then military associations would quite nat- 
urally have become enlarged as intercourse with other human 
beings began to produce effect. Meanwhile, however, the 
army, which was originally a product of the people, had be- 
come independent of its creator and a tool in the hands of 
the ruling class ; and continued so, even although of late popu- 
lation has constantly increased, and likewise the army was con- 
stantly increasing. The people, in short, no longer decide 
issues but are themselves decided upon. 

Genuine social sentiments can never exist without the two- 
fold check of liberty and responsibility. Soldiers in general, 
however, are not free, nor are they, taken as a body, respon- 
sible. Hence the organization uniting them can not be called 
social. However much comradeship in the army may be 
talked about, it can be only a matter of outward form. 

Now, it may be argued that this may be the case in time of 
peace, but that in time of war a new kind of comradeship is 
created between officers and men owinsr to the existence of 


a common danger; but this is only true to a limited extent. 
Of course both officers and men do their very utmost at present 
to rub along well together while the war lasts and each de- 
pends on the other. Often enough it happens in ** trench 
casinos" that men give so much rein to their feelings that the 
distance between officer and private is undeniably to some 
extent bridged over. But this is all, and when peace does 
come it will not need to prove that in reality the distance be- 
tween man and man is just as great as ever. On the con- 
trary, the fear of spies in this war has added one more par- 
tition to the many that divide up modern Germany, and one 
which even splits up the army. Every one believes himself 
to be the repository of specially important secrets. 

For instance, when acting as army doctor, I once asked a 
sailor who said he had injured his heart by overstraining it 
how he had done this. He stood at attention and said, **Beg 
pardon, a sailor must n't tell secrets." Unfortunately, such 
answers are very characteristic nowadays. A hundred times 
have I read in an officer's eyes, when a brother officer was 
asking him some harmless question, the anxious query, * ' Per- 
haps, after all, you 're a spy, too ? ' ' 

Very often this mystery-making showed itself in strange 
ways. Thus at first the radio-telegraphists in a certain place 
did a little innocent bragging about the important telegrams 
they received. Afterward, when they themselves no longer 
knew the contents of telegrams, they took refuge in ** pro- 
fessional secrecy." Probably there have been many such 
instances, but the fact that there is nothing behind these 
uncommunicative official visages does not make matters bet- 
ter. This uncommunicativeness, in short, is a characteristic 
of mankind to-day. 

Does no one wonder what is to be end of all this? The 
army is on the high road to convert our people into a kind of 
Jesuitical order. The Jesuits also have a chief college, which 
every one of them blindly obeys. None knows why he does 
so ; he simply obeys. Not a soul speaks of what he is doing : 


he does it; every one keeps a relentless watch on every one 
else, and every individual impulse is stifled for the good of 
the order in general. Man ceases to be an individual person, 
and becomes a mere wheel in an organization. 

The Jesuits also talk of comradeship, and even call them- 
selves brothers, and this Brotherhood of Jesus has achieved 
something in the world, in fact, a great deal. Time was when 
we did not envy them their success, and if we used to say we 
meant to be a nation of all brothers, we did not mean that 
we wanted to be Jesuits or to belong to any organization con- 
sisting of officers and common soldiers. We meant something 
which might perhaps best be defined as the opposite of both. 
We meant a free brotherliness, in which, of course, there would 
be room for both Jesuits and officers, but which as a rule was 
not ruled on the principles of either. 

How THE Army Has Been Transformed 


§ 73. — The Invincibility of a National Army 

The wheel of time, therefore, has come full circle, and the 
old days have returned in which every man must be armed. 
Once again the world bristles with arms; once again every 
man has become a soldier, and this condition we Germans 
proudly call that of a nation in arms, and talk about our 
national army. 

Now, it is certainly beyond doubt that despite all their 
faults, national armies have given a better account of them- 
selves on the whole than professional armies. Even the 
Theban militia of Epaminondas were superior to the Spartans, 
a special caste of whom had been trained to be soldiers, as 
witness the battle of Leuktra, in 371 b. c. ; and in 275 b. c. the 
Roman peasant militia conquered both the Greek mercenaries 
of Pyrrhus, King of Epirus at Beneventum and the profes- 
sional armies of Carthage, although they had a genius such as 
Hannibal to lead them. (At Cannas, characteristically 
enough, comparatively few Punic citizens took part in the 
fighting.) Even the Sicilian city militia had already beaten 
the proud Africans. 

The vast national armies of the Albigenses and Hussites 
were for long invincible, and the latter, under their great gen- 
eral Ziska, had no difficulty whatever in utterly routing the 
Emperor Sigismund and his experienced knightly armies, as 
for instance at Deutsch-Brod, in 1422. 

Similarly the Swiss peasants at Morgarten conquered the 



knightly hosts of Leopold of Austria, the people of Ditt- 
marschen ^ conquered the flower of the Danish Imperial 
Army, and the Steding peasants yielded only to a feudal army 
enormously superior in numbers. Even in Germany the very 
ill-equipped peasant armies could not be conquered until the 
city militia joined the knightly armies, which had everywhere 
been beaten. 

Under the popular leadership of Jeanne d'Arc the citizen 
defenders of Orleans conquered the English Army, although 
the latter had utterly routed the French knightly armies at 
Agincourt. As long as the Swedish Army was a truly na- 
tional people's array, it was invincible; and in a single year, 
after an unparalleled succession of victories, it even reached 
the Danube. Not till afterward did the Swedes also become 
professional soldiers,^ and then there was an end to their 
conspicuous good fortune. 

The American militia under Washington, although at first 
heavily defeated, eventually won the brilliant victory of Sara- 
toga over the British regulars. Similarly the disorganized 
masses of soldiers of the French Revolution very soon managed 
to overthrow the experienced armies of Austria and Prussia. 
On the other hand, in 1813 and 1815 Prussia's insufficiently 
trained masses proved superior to Napoleon's Old Guards. 

The value of national armies, however, has been tested a 
hundred times, and although since the outbreak of war Prus- 
sian military experts in particular have succeeded in exalting 
the achievements of * * professional soldiers ' ' as compared with 
those of civilian soldiers, it is only in the pages of biassed 
historians that their so-called ** successes" need be sought. 
Apparently it is not really so very difficult to master the busi- 
ness of war. The last linesman who had never served in the 
army and who was trained in from four to six weeks, has once 

1 Marshland coast region of Germany, now part of the Prussian prov- 
ince of Schlesswig-Holstein. — Translator. 

2 Toward the close of the Thirty Years' War a large part of the Swed- 
ish Army and almost all of the cavalry consisted of Germans. 


more learned virtually the same things as used to take twenty- 
times as long to learn.^ 

A set of soldiers with experience in war, on the other hand, 
have very often failed to give a good account of themselves. 
The German journalist Karl Bleibtreu, for instance, writes 
that at Gravelotte and Colomby it was among the Old Prus- 
sian troops that panic broke out. It was they who took to 
flight and who shirked, and similarly with regard to the Old 
Bavarian troops at Loigny. Even Frossard's picked French 
troops conducted themselves badly at Rezonville and Grave- 
lotte, and Canrobert's did likewise on the terrace of St. Privat 
and at Sedan. By this it is not intended to assert that troops 
differ essentially according to the kind of training they have 
received. Instances, though not so many, could be alleged 
to prove the contrary.^ But it undoubtedly does show that 
an army's real superiority must be based on something else 
than technical training. 

The reason why it is so difficult to perceive wherein lies that 
principle of invincibility which manifests itself throughout 
all the hurlyburly of victory and defeat is that hitherto men 
have been firmly convinced of the necessity of deciding all 

1 Nor does it seem so very difficult to ''learn to be a general," as was 
proved by the Napoleonic marshals of France. Lannes was a dyer, and 
Murat, a waiter; Ney, Bottcher, and Oudinot, clerks; Soult a copy- 
ing clerk ; and Massena a vagabond. And they all understood their busi- 
ness ; and were far more capable than Augeran, who had served as a 
professional soldier in the Prussian Army, or than such persons as the 
Marquis de Grouchy and Count Lasalle, who had served in a like 
capacity in the Bourbon Army. Even von der Goltz, in passing judg- 
ment from the point of view of a German military man on Gambetta, 
the lawyer, says that in many respects it would have been much better 
for France had she listened only to him. It goes without saying that, 
since old Derfflinger's time, it has not been possible to cite any Ger- 
mans as instances of this superiority of non-professional soldiers. 

2 Cf. Adam Smith's "Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the 
Wealth of Nations," V, I, 1 (1776). Adam Smith's view is that only 
a very small percentage of soldiers are possible and necessary in a civ- 
ilized community, and that they had best be a police force, paid a fixed 
salary. In proof of the truth of his contention he cites instances in 
which well organized armies have beaten badly organized ones. 


their great struggles by fighting like animals. Thus they have 
generally fought and fought until at length, after varying 
successes, the victor on the battle-field was the combatant pre- 
destined to victory from the first — ^namely, the combatant with 
the stronger vitality. Hence the delusion that anything can 
be decided by a battle being won. In reality, however, it was 
the national army which won, not the flower-decked hosts 
which, armed to the teeth, go to meet death on the battle-field, 
but that national army of workers and inventors, artists and 
scientists, whose vital force creates new life. 

That fine nations, especially in former times, should like- 
wise often have been fine soldiers is not surprising, but has 
helped to obscure the truth, since it thus frequently happened 
that victory on the battle-field and genuine victory coincided. 
For this very reason the exceptions are all the more instructive. 
Perhaps the most striking instances of nations which have 
obtained a foothold without having ever won a victory are 
the Chinese and the Jews. And modern Italy, proof of whose 
efficient labor is that Italian workmen may be found shoveling 
up the ground all round the globe, has she not won something 
from each one of her lost wars? And have not Russia, Ger- 
many, and Austria, the three empires concerned, all promised 
the Poles autonomy? Polish workmen are to be found, like 
Italian, all over the world; yet the Polish people have never 
waged war on their own account ; indeed whenever they have 
attempted to bring about a revolution by force of arms, they 
have failed miserably. And is not Hungary also a case in 
point ? In 1849 she was cut to pieces, and to-day she has the 
decisive voice in the Dual Monarchy. 

Why cite all these examples, however, since any one who 
keeps his eyes open will find in the histor}^ of nations proofs 
and to spare of my contentions? Moreover, no one will be 
able to adduce any fact to disprove them. 

It is national superiority which decides issues, and not 
military success; and this is the sense in which the nation 
decides, or, if you prefer, a national army. The founders of 


modern armies had an inkling of this truth, but, spellbound 
by tradition, they thought they must equip the people with 
rifles. We shall never attain our object until this delusion 
has vanished, and until the "fighting army" is identical with 
the nation at work. Then will we try to help our people by 
making them fitter for life and no longer fitter for bearing 
arms. Then will the true, genuine struggle begin, one which 
will perhaps be far more terrible, but more worth fighting, 
because it will mean the survival of the fittest and not of those 
most skilled in bearing arms. Thus one day will militarism 
be overcome, and by an army of the nation. 

§74. — A Question Wro7igly Worded 

In order that this may one day come to pass, however, it 
was perhaps first necessary for the people to be admitted into 
the professional army. It is regrettable, but may have been 
unavoidable, that the number of soldiers in Europe should 
have increased since the Middle Ages by from two thousand 
to four thousand per cent.; for whereas in the Middle Ages 
out of a thousand human beings not more than four to eight 
were soldiers, at present from 120 to 150 are so. 

Now, this increase, which is absolutely senseless and useless, 
since all countries have done the same thing, must be explained, 
if it cannot be justified. It is the one solid fact from which 
everything else has resulted. Hardly any one refers to this 
main fact, however, but only to all manner of absolutely im- 
material side issues. For instance, we argue as to whether the 
recruited soldier or the mercenary is the better. True, the 
German word soldier {Soldat) is derived from ^'Sold*' (pay) ; 
but in general it is imagined that the soldier to-day fights 
voluntarily for his country, which the mercenary (or Soldner) 
does not. When Frederick the Great died, in 1786, this dis- 
tinction may have existed ; and it was a symptom of the great 
changes then preparing in Europe that public opinion severely 
condemned those petty German princes who, in return for 
''subsidies," allowed their mercenaries to fight for England. 


Only twenty years earlier public opinion saw nothing to con- 
demn in transactions of this kind. Even in 1813 the **new" 
Prussian army consisted, at all events a small part thereof, of 
enthusiastically patriotic volunteers, whereas the ''old" army 
was raked together by craft or forced from all parts of the 

But now it is the English who are dubbed ** hirelings, ' * 
although, at any rate in the first twenty months of the war, 
they were all volunteers, whereas in Germany the troops are 
invariably compulsorily recruited.^ On either side are none 
but German-born or British-born, as the case may be. Both 
receive pay also, and that the German is paid less is quite 
beside the point. 

From the purely technical point of view, the professional 
soldier will, of course, achieve more, but this scarcely matters. 
The one really important point is the *^spirit animating the 
army.*' This, in an army based on universal service, may be 
"bad," as was proved in the case of the Russians during the 
Japanese War; and in an army voluntarily recruited it may 
be **good," as Americans and British have frequently shown. 
The contrary, however, may be the case ; and although volun- 
tary service as existing in England until recently is preferable 
for other reasons, this does not affect the quality of the army. 

Even the question whether ''standing armies" or militia are 
the better is due to a play upon words, for in reality in every 
country to-day there is a compromise between these two sys- 
tems. The ancient profession of a mercenary no longer exists 
except for officers, beginning with generals, who still some- 
times die in harness. All other soldiers, after more or less 
training, are transferred to the "reserve," which, after all, 
is the principle of the militia. Officers serve about twenty 

1 The only persons in Germany who can be compared with England's 
volunteer hirelings would be the comparatively well-paid officers, who 
in war-time are even very well paid. But from the political point of 
view this is very much more dangerous, of which Spinoza was aware, 
when, in his political tractate, chap. VI, § 31, he particularly insisted 
that soldiers should receive pay, but officers not. Cf. below. 


years, subalterns twelve, the Russians, four, German and 
French cavalry, three, and German infantry, two years. 
"What may be called upper lif th-f orm boys, or what corresponds 
to them in Germany, serve one year ; German doctors and the 
Serbians, six months ; the Dutch, three months ; and the Swiss, 
ten weeks. Here, then, we have all grades. How greatly the 
meaning of all these military titles varies, moreover, even 
among experts, is proved by the fact that in the "1824 Mili- 
tary Hand-book" ^ the Prussian Army of Jena is described as 
an * ' organized militia. ' ' 

All these alleged contradictions in terms, such as soldiers 
under obligation to serve in the army or hirelings, professional 
or national army, standing army or militia, matter nothing 
to-day. Every nation tries to squeeze as much as possible out 
of the material at its disposal, and for this purpose universal 
service is of course the best. No reasonable person can be in 
any doubt about this. 

The only possible question, therefore, is whether it is worth a 
nation's while to sacrifice its best sons for a purpose attainable 
by means of an army. For this is what it all amounts to, and 
this must determine the purpose for which an army is used. 
Originally, it is true, an army really was meant for war, and 
existed only in war, which simple folk probably took to be a 
matter of course. Indeed, when the business of war was not, 
as it is now, something wholly apart from man's ordinary 
habits of life, it would naturally have been absurd to have 
kept an army together even in peace-time. Every one used 
to go about his business, and if war came, then every one used 
to take up arms. 

§ 75. — The Three Reasons for the Introduction of Profes- 
sional Armies 

This gradually changed. First of all a change, often 
wrongly called degeneration, came about in man. Peaceful 
citizens, whose days were filled up with work, forgot how to 

1 "Militarisches Taschenbuch 1842." 


ride and fight, and consequently were obliged, even in peace- 
time, to practice the increasingly difficult art of war, for which 
they had no time. Thus professional soldiers came into 
existence, most of them * ' international artisans, ' ' who traveled 
from place to place, carrying on their occupation at the same 
time. Such familiar names as Xenophon, Pyrrhus, G. von 
Frundsberg^ and Gattamellata prove that this arrangement 
was not peculiar to any nation or to any period. 

Secondly, as time went on, the community was constantly 
requiring a larger and larger police force, as the number of 
prohibitions was continually increasing, and the minority en- 
gaged in perpetually exploiting the masses more and more were 
forced to maintain troops for their individual protection. 
That this and not by any means fondness for waging war was 
the main reason for the introduction of standing armies is 
plain from the fact that almost without exception these can 
be proved to have originated in a mere princely bodyguard, 
of which we have a reminder of this in the names of the oldest 
divisions of the standing armies — Pretorians, Guards, body- 
guard, "Maison du Roi,'' myrmidons, gentlemen-at-arms, and 

For this very reason standing armies were virtually never 
recruited from the country's own sons, since it was against 
the latter that they were to be used. The Roman Pretorians 
were Germans or Parthians; the French Guards were Swiss; 
the first army of the Hohenzollerns consisted of South Ger- 
mans ; and up till the Prussian Wars of Liberation recruiting 
abroad was preferred. Indeed Frederick William I, the real 
founder of the Prussian Army, expressly forbade any attempt 
to induce the country's sons to take their places beside ** com- 
mon fellows." Accordingly, no one thought it strange that 
scions of the same fatherland should fight against one another. 
Thus at Malplaquet, Swiss were pitted against Swiss, and at 
Pavia, in 1525, German mercenaries under Frundsberg fought 

iGeorg von Frundsberg, 1473-1528, leader of the German free lands 
under Maximilian and Charles V. 


against the French "Black Band," which, for that matter, 
likewise consisted of Germans under the leadership of a Lower 
Saxon junker. 

Thirdly, there was yet another cause for the establishment 
of standing armies, and this, strange as it may sound, was 
men's longing for peace. At a time when there were as yet 
no standing armies, old Cicero^ innocently wrote: **we must 
wage war one day in order afterward to be able to enjoy 
peace/' thereby correctly describing what is at present actu- 
ally a fact. In the Rome of Cicero's days there were still so 
many savage elements, that he was obliged, in making such an 
observation, to hold forth some attractive subsidiary prospect. 
But when Rome became more highly civilized, and conse- 
quently, perhaps partly under the influence of the Christian 
conceptions of fraternity then spreading over the world, not 
enough men were anxious to become soldiers, Vegetius,- a 
Christian, wrote that whoever desired peace ought to pre- 
pare for war, connecting this statement with Cicero's words, 
but absolutely reversing their meaning. 

Thus we ought to prepare for war in order to avoid it, 
whereas otherwise no one prepares for anything unless he 
wants to bring it about. An analogy to this can be found only 
in the confused reasoning of scholastic theologians. Here 
also we find the assertion that as no one can positively know 
that it is not, after all, dangerous to deny God, therefore it is 
safer, especially for His enemies, to believe in Him, * 'since 
then He cannot be angry with them." 

Lessing has already admirably exposed this *' safety" kind 
of argument. He describes a Jew, who, being asked whether 
he would prefer to believe in a living or a dead Christ, re- 
plies: *' Rather in a living Christ, for he could always be 
killed afterward; but it is difficult to make the dead live 

1 Cicero : '^Quare, si pace frui volumus, helium gerendum est." Phil. 
VII. 6, 19f. 

2 Vegetiua: '^Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet helium." Epitome just, 
rei milit. 3 p. vol. 


again." It has' been just the same with war. Timorous per- 
sons think it dangerous to believe even in the possibility of 
peace, for then war might come like a thief in the night and 
devour them; and therefore, for safety's sake, an ever-living — 
that is, a standing — army must be kept. Else the other armies 
would kill it. 

These standing armies for peace, therefore, a condition 
which even Logau^ stigmatized as an "armor-clad peace," 
arose for the following reasons : 

1. — As a result of war having become unnatural and nations 
being engaged in peaceful occupations. 

2. — As a sign of princes' dread lest the disinherited should 
take vengeance upon them. 

3. — As a sign of the people's dread of the horrors of war. 

Armies, therefore, were not at all created for war, but for 
peace ; and they are not a warlike, but a peaceful, symptom. 
But since, perhaps, nothing could be less adapted to the 
awakening desire for peace, all they have succeeded in doing is 
to make wars ever greater and more horrible. This is always 
so when we try to cast out the devil by Beelzebub, which, for 
that matter, is not generally a sign of particularly great 
wickedness, but always one of particularly great stupidity. 
Thus modern armies in themselves are not wicked, but they are 
the fie plus ultra of human folly. 


. 6. — The Origin and Meaning of Militia 

I hardly know a single book on militia which does not begin 
by asserting that originally the principle of universal service 

1 Logau's "Sinnegedichte," No. 1802, 1654. 

"Krieg hat den Harnisch weggelegt, der Friede zeucht ilina an, 
Wir wissen, was der Krieg veriibt, wer weiss, was Friede kann ?" 
(War has put off its armor, and peace puts it on. We know what 
mischief war can do; who knows what peace can do?) 

2 Where not otherwise stated, I have reliod for ray facts mainly upon 
"Die Geschichte der preussischen Landwehr" ("History of the Prussian 


prevailed in Germany, in accordance with the old feudal sys- 
tem. In one sense this is true, though it is both saying too 
much and too little. It says too little because universal service 
existed not in Germany alone, but throughout Europe and even 
throughout the world. After all, it is quite natural that the 
inhabitants of a country should have defended themselves 
against enemy invasion, as they would generally have done ab- 
solutely of their own accord in order to avoid being killed, and 
which they were everj^where bound to do. Almost all primi- 
tive states have been founded on some such necessity for de- 
fense and offense. 

But it also says too much. Whoever goes to the roots of 
that patriotic feeling from which ancient Germany sprang 
ought never to forget how marvelous rich and expressive is 
our mother tongue. In Germany there is no '* conscription 
generale/' which might mean anything, but only the quite 
clearly defined ''universal military service. '* This does not 
mean that it is every one's duty to attack or inflict chastise- 
ment on others, but simply and solely that it is every man's 
duty to bear arms. More clearly it cannot be expressed. 

The Ottoman is commanded by his religion to attack, but the 
German's duty was only to protect hearth and home, and it 
was left to his own free choice whether he would take part in 
military excursions into other countries. No one was com- 
pelled to take part in the **Ver sacrum/' and this ancient 
Teutonic custom survived longest in free England, where 
until quite recently every one was liable for home defense only, 
while the yeomen voluntarily obej^ed the king 's call to attack, 
partly because they hoped for plunder (though now they can 
hope only for pay), and partly from patriotism. 

Originally this system prevailed in Germany, as everywhere 
else ; and in Prussia, which is somewhat off the beaten track, 
it survived a particularly long while. When the word militia 
(Landwehr) first occurs in Prussian documents, it is used to 

Militia"), by the Prussian Minister Brauer, Mittler & Sohn: Berlin, 


mean a model peaceful institution, which, it is true, the Hohen- 
zollerns were not long in abolishing. 

In the old monastic country of Prussia, after its seculariza- 
tion, the militia formed an integral part of the so-called ** de- 
fense works." As Polish was at first spoken there, they were 
called '^Wyhraniek,''^ and there is no official mention of 
militia until 1613. Ten years later the Elector George Wil- 
liam and the Prussian Estates of the Realm came to an agree- 
ment concerning this militia, *' whereby every tenth man was 
destined to go to the frontier, while the rest were to remain 
in the interior of the country to defend it. ' ' 

Had this idea of utilizing the inexhaustible reserves of uni- 
versal service only for home defense been further developed, 
wars would have become impossible. For instance, if to-day 
only one soldier in ten were allowed to cross the frontier and 
the recruiting systems were all alike, then even if all Europe 
united in an attack on the Central empires, there would be 
only one man available for attack as against more than four 
for defense at the disposal of the Central empires. Contrari- 
wise, every soldier of the Central empires would encounter 
about thirty enemies on the defensive. Indeed, even Germany 
alone, defending herself against all Europe, would have more 
than twice as many troops as her aggressors could put in the 

This ** sacred duty of bearing arms," which ^would almost 
automatically have prevented any attack, became so completely 
metamorphosed in the course of ages that now nothing but 
the name is a faint reminder, and this only for the learned, 
that the civilization of the German nation was once peaceful 
in character. 

It was Charlemagne who first attempted to force the German 
people into aggressive warfare ; and we ought to reflect, espe- 

1 Wyhrcmieh means selected. Here again, therefore, the fine title and 
meaning of the militia is not traceable, though it is characteristic that 
tlioBO who translated the word did not do so literally, but freely adapted 
,it^ being mindful of the trend of ancient German civilization. 


cially just now, that even he did not succeed in calling out the 
whole nation for more than a few decades, and then only by 
dint of great difficulty. Charlemagne wanted to uplift and 
protect the peasant class. Hence he gave his people whatever 
land he conquered, hoping thereby to induce them to defend 
it of their own accord. If he freed the peasant class, he hoped 
to have a nation capable of bearing arms; but he very soon 
perceived that this was like arguing in a circle, for the per- 
petual wars ruined the very class of peasants they had orig- 
inally created.^ 

Thus this agrarian reform of Charlemagne, which aimed at 
establishing a class of peasant soldiers, failed because it was 
essentially inconsistent. Similarly all agrarian reforms had 
failed, in ancient Greece (the Spartan reforms of Agis and 
Cleomenes, for instance) , and likewise in Italy, from those of 
Servius Tullius up to and including those of the Gracchi ; and 
similarly all such reforms were destined to fail in the future, 
even those of Frederick William III of Prussia until 1813. 

§ 77. — The Rise of a Hirelmg Army in Germany 

Even under the Carolingians men raised by general levy 
proved unsuited for fighting abroad; but in the long run the 
vassal army likewise failed. In this army the vassal was not a 
proper professional soldier, but pursued his soldier's calling 
as a permanent secondary occupation. 

Attempts to conquer foreign countries with vassal armies 
failed utterly, for the German people could not be induced 
to dream dreams of conquering Italy, as did its emperors. 
Henry the Lion,^ for instance, flatly declined to fight Barbaros- 

1 When the wars ceased, indeed, when one nation was at length vic- 
torious, then perhaps it might have been possible to discuss whether it 
was all worth while; but even in those days the conquered were wont 
to revenge themselves. 

2 Henry the Lion (1129-1195), Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, cousin 
of Barbarossa. Married Matilda, daughter of Henry II of England, 
and spent three years in England. He founded Munich, and did much 
to promote the development of Hamburg, Ltibeck, and other towns. 
Owing to his having acted disloyally to Barbarossa in 1175, the latter 


sa's battles, and even the second Frederick von Hohenstaufen 
was obliged to employ foreigners, mostly Saracens. Subse- 
quently the question whether the ''obligation to serve" might 
be enforced for some' object outside the empire, and, if so, to 
what extent, gave rise to endless dissensions. Indeed, to 
describe these w^ould mean waiting a large portion of medieval 
constitutional history. At all events, the rulers did not as yet 
have their own way, and as they cared little about a **uni- 
versal obligation to serve in peace,'' they allowed universal 
service in general gradually to fall into disuse. 

A middle course was then agreed upon, which suited both 
parties concerned. The citizen bought himself free for good 
and for all from the obligation to serve; and with the pro- 
ceeds of this tax the lord of the soil bought himself a smaller, 
more convenient army, one which was not always wanting 
to go home, but, ready either for peace or war, could be used 
for making wars on foreign countries as well as on the rights 
of the lord of the soil's fellow-citizens, irrespective of all 
ordinances concerning the duty of military service. Thus it 
was that in England and Denmark German mercenaries were 
used to quell the risings of the harassed peasantry, while the 
Ilapsbuigs in the Anti-Reformation movement used Italian 
and Walloon troops against their Protestant knights, cities, 
and i)easants. General levies of the people lingered on only 
In a few democracies, such as Switzerland; and except in 
Poland, even the nobility were not always called upon to 
serve. Thus national armies were abolished by the ruling 
caste, because it was still impossible to exploit the nation's 
strength in the interests of any dynasties. What softened 
this blow for the rulers was that early in the Middle Ages 
firearms began to be used now, and not every one was skilled in 
the use of these; hence the necessity for "trained soldiers'* 
again arose. At all events, just at this time princely guards, 

put him to the ban of the empire and forfeited his lands. As he suh- 
niitted in 1181, however, be was suffered to keep LUneburg md Bruna- 


gentlemen-at-arms, bodyguards, or whatever their names may 
have been, began almost everywhere being converted into gen- 
uine armies of mercenaries, for the most part a scourge 
rather than a protection to the country in whose pay they 

Once the princes found they could depend upon their hire- 
lings to support them steadfastly and independently of the 
people, they hardly ever kept to their agreement with the 
latter, but repeatedly demanded not merely their money, but 
their blood also. Wars were very frequent, but those who 
delighted in war comparatively few. Thus demand exceeded 
supply, and an army of foreign mercenaries cost a pretty 
penny. Hence the thoughts of any prince anxious to man- 
age ** economically" could not but be perpetually reverting 
to universal liability to military service, which, after all, 
was a way of getting soldiers comparatively cheap. But 
sometimes he realized that, at any rate in those days, there 
was danger in making his fellow-subjects fire on their own 
fathers and brothers; and sometimes he perceived that, after 
all, these fellow-citizens of his could be better employed for 
other purposes. Then he sorrowfully reverted to the plan of 
recruiting his soldiers abroad. So matters went on, never 
for long the same. 

§ 78. — The Bise of an Army of Mercenaries in Prussia 

Conditions did not become more stable until Frederick Wil- 
liam I's time. This "soldier-king," who loved parading 
about with his "set of longlegs," first disbanded the militia 
established by his predecessor for home defense, alleging that 
it was "insufficiently trained." To this militia it was "ex- 
pressly promised that it should never be taken out of the 
country." Under penalty of a hundred ducats' fine, he even 
forbade the word militia to be used, and he also forbade any 
homeland recruiting, which, however, he afterward allowed 
from pecuniary considerations. But an edict of 1721 re- 
stricted it to "such subjects as may come forward of their 


own free will, and are not already engaged in the cultivation 
of the soil, in the promotion of commerce, '* and in certain 
other occupations. 

The twenty-seven years of Frederick William I's reign 
were, by the way, among the most peaceful which Prussia has 
seen. With a small **show guard" of soldiers it was impos- 
sible to make war, for, as the impartial historian cannot fail 
to notice, that to whomsoever God gives an army. He sooner 
or later gives the war belonging thereto. 

Frederick William I's army was small and consisted solely 
of ** mercenaries,'* being thus as unlike our present monstrous 
national armies as possible. Yet he is universally, and rightly, 
regarded as the founder of the Prussian military system. 
To him is traceable the root principle of the Prussian Army, a 
principle which all modern prating about national or hireling 
armies, one year's or three years' service, etc., merely ob- 
scures. He it was who caused the Prussian Army to be clas- 
sified into ** common soldiers"^ and officers, and since his 
time it has been impossible for any soldier to become an 

All who speak of this monarch as the founder of the Prus- 
sian Army testify, perhaps unwittingly, to the fact that this 
contempt for the '* common soldier," which in no other army 
is so marked, is really characteristic; for this sharp delimi- 
tation is all that is now left of his system, and to-day it is 
sharper than ever; and this monarch's contempt for "common 
fellows" (that is, foreigners or, later on, the good-for-nothing 
dregs of his own people ) , has in course of time become trans- 
ferred to the mass of the German people. They are still good 
enough to be "common soldiers," while promotion to be an 
officer is reserved for the rich or noble. 

This standing army proper remained much the same until 
the battles of Jena and Auerstadt, but in times of real na- 
tional danger, the people also always used to fight for their 
country. Thus, after the dangerous concentric attack of the 

1 "Qmeine"^— common soldiers, commoners. — Translator. 


Allies on Prussia began, the Pomeranian Estates equipped five 
thousand yeomanry and offered them to the king, and the 
provincial cities of the Marches and of the domains of Madge- 
burg and Halberstadt did likewise, adding, it is true, the stipu- 
lation that these troops should be maintained only for the du- 
ration of the war and used only for the defense of the country. 
But what a king has, he has, and in the last years of the war 
these troops were unlawfully employed as reserves. The great 
king, however, unlike his successors, did disband these bat- 
talions on the conclusion of the war, although his empty treas- 
ury may certainly have had something to do with this. 

§ 79. — Attempts at Organization Before the Battle of Jena 

After the death of Frederick II no change took place 
until the cannonading of Valmy, the victory of the French 
at Jemappes in 1792, and the conquest of Toulon made the 
Allies realize that with the French Revolution new forces had 
gained the upper hand. When we are in a tight place, we 
always think of the people. Consequently in 1794 an edict of 
the Prussian IMilitary Department ^ approved the offer of 
the president of the chamber. Stein, to collect a militia. The 
following year, indeed, even the imperial court at Vienna be- 
gan to discuss the question of a ** universal arming of the 
people.'* But the Prussian Government, which in 1795 still 
believed in Frederick the Great's army, opined that such a 
general levy of the people would not suffice to get the better 
of the enemy and, moreover, was dangerous. Once more did 
the Prussian bureaucrats prove that they knew better how 
to attain their end than did the Viennese; for, after all, the 
whole century of German reaction is contained in these few 
words of August 25, 1795, **a people in arms is a danger in 

Yet the time came when even Prussian bureaucrats were 
forced to appeal to the people in arms, which, for the time 
being, did not get beyond the stage of plans. For eight long 

1 Oher-Kriegs-Kollegiwm. — Translator, 


years, moreover, nothing was said about it, and meanwhile 
Napoleon's new armies were turning the world upside down. 
Then, in 1803, we suddenly hear of General von Riichers 
scheme for raising fully fifty thousand yeomanry, who, sig- 
nificantly enough, were to be under the command of *' semi- 
invalids." General von Courbiere had also a plan, which, 
however, left the militia wholly out of account, and merely 
proposed to call up more recruits, and dismiss on leave an 
equal number of experienced soldiers, thus creating a supply 
of ** thoroughly trained" men to increase the standing army 
for war purposes. 

A high and mighty military organization committee, which 
had been sitting since 1795, was particularly incensed over 
Major von Knesebeck's plan for the introduction of a genuine 
militia, to be called the * ' Patriotic Legions. ' ' Degrading pun- 
ishments, moreover, were to be abolished. The committee 
angrily pointed out that the Prussian military constitution 
was a "venerable original document and of matchless perfec- 
tion," something which could not be meddled with without 
everything collapsing. When such principles prevailed, the 
wonder is not that the organization committee should have 
kept silence so long, but why it should ever have existed at 

General von RiichePs scheme was supposed to be accepted, 
but in reality nothing whatever was done; and when war 
broke out, only a few Polish battalions could be scraped to- 
gether, and then in Silesia. Fruitless as the labors of the mil- 
itary organization committee were, however, they cannot be 
ignored when the value of soldiers is being inquired into. 
There is again an inclination to consider that at Jena the 
officers did not fail so very badly, *'for, after all, such a lot 
of them did stick to their guns," as if the value of a human 
being depended on some one else shooting him dead. If this 
were the case, then hares would make the best officers. The 
really important fact is that until the Peace of Tilsit the army 
was entirely in the hands of high-born military men, who, 


as their organization committee proved, were absolutely in- 

§ 80. — The 1807 Reorganization Committee 

When the bill for all this incapacity had been settled at 
Jena, and the State of Prussia was prostrate, then it was 
seen that something must be done. Accordingly the organi- 
zation committee was converted into a reorganization commit- 
tee, and, what was of more importance, civilians were ap- 
pointed members of it. To them it is due that afterward some 
vestige of a new spirit prevailed. It was, however, only a 
vestige, for in this reorganization committee two opinions 
fought for predominance. Every one was agreed as to the 
desirability of having as many soldiers as possible, and as to 
its being the duty, if practicable, of all citizens to enter the 
army. That is, something resembling a national army was 
desired. The question, however, was whether the people or 
the army should be the first consideration. On the reorgani- 
zation committee were such men as Baron von Stein ^ and 
the financial expert Schon. Under the fructifying influence 
of French Revolutionary ideas, they wanted to create a 
genuine national army, based on moral qualities. But they 
had the military party against them, and particularly Gneis- 
enau, who wanted to have as few changes as possible, and 
to resort to universal service merely in order to squeeze out 
a larger contingent of recruits for the standing army. 

An interesting memorandum^ has been preserved, sub- 
mitted by Herr von Schon on December 4, and then handed 
to Herr von Gneisenau for his expert opinion thereon. Herr 
von Gneisenau made marginal notes on it, which clearly show 
that he and his colleague, eminent men as they both were, 

1 Baron Heinrich Friedrich Karl von Stein, 1757-1831. In 1804 he 
was appointed to the Prussian Department of Trade and Manufactures, 
where he introduced apparently too many reforms to please Frederick 
William III, and in 1807 he resigned. — Translator. 

2 Printed in the Supplement to the "MilitUrwochenblatt," for 1S46, pp. 
68 and 69. 


were as wide apart as the poles. One citation is enough to 
show this. The civilian committee member says that soldiers 
in general must be considered as the. flower of the nation, 
righting all wrongs, and consequently having the highest vo- 
cation. This did not please the military men, and Von Gneise- 
nau made a marginal note insisting "that the whole nation 
must realize that the only way to maintain its national exist- 
ence is to uphold its military honor.'' 

Two fairy godmothers, therefore, stood together by the 
cradle of the new Prussian Army. The gift which one wanted 
to bestow upon it was the power of righting wrongs ; while the 
other wanted to raise it above the rest of mankind by endowing 
it with "a soldier's special honor," a phrase which must. then 
have been newlj^ coined. 

Prussia, therefore, was faced by the problem of whether she 
meant to become a national army or to remain a military 
state. These two phrases show quite clearly that we have 
here a distinction which cannot be expressed in concrete terms. 
Both signify that army and people are one and indivisible, 
and yet we know that the tw^o notions are worlds apart. The 
result of the one is Switzerland, that of the other Prussia 
and Germany, the other countries lying somewhere between 
these two extremes. 

It is easy to divine* why the democratic tendencies of Stein 
and his followers were not allowed to prevail. General von 
Boyen/ many years Prussian minister of war, once expressly 
stated that ' ' the example of the free States of North America 
and of Switzerland proves that even now it is possible to 
manage by arming the people in this way.'* The militia, 
indeed, he continued, must not be considered as ** resulting 
from the republican form of Government ^ in these two coun- 

i**Beitrage zur Charakteristik des Generals v. Scharnhorst" 
("Side Lights on the Character of General von Scharnhorst") by H. 
von Boyen. 

2 I have added the word "republican" in order to make the quotation 
from Boyen intelligible. The author himself is very careful not to 
use any such word, and leaves it to the reader to guess. 


tries.'* Other republics, for instance Holland, Carthage, 
Genoa, and Venice, have maintained considerable standing 
armies, as Boyen himself quite truly observes. 

Thus, although Boyen arrives at no result, nevertheless 
his few words of comparison contain the truth, indeed the 
whole truth. He did not, indeed, express it, but possibly 
he suspected it. The kind of government matters no more 
than the particular kind of army. What matters is what 
is intended to be done with the armies. Carthage wanted to 
conquer Spain and Sicily; Holland to conquer the East Indies 
and neighboring territory; Venice and Genoa fought for 
the predominance in the Mediterranean. Switzerland and 
North America, however, do not want to conquer anything; 
they use their armies only for defense, and consequently man- 
age with truly national armies. 

Boyen must have held some such opinion, for he was a great 
student of Scharnhorst, and Scharnhorst expressly states that 
militia is 07ily suitable for defensive warfare. It is obvious, 
indeed, that a national army composed of citizens all engaged 
in various occupations ought never to take up arms except 
when compelled to do so in self-defense. The robber attacks, 
the citizen defends himself. 

Now, in every country peacefully inclined persons are in 
the majority, and the circumstance that aggressive armies were 
formed from these peaceful citizens did much to deprave 
politics in the nineteenth century. Imaginary contrasts had 
to be drawn, and, at any rate, some enthusiasm artitically 
created, which partly explains the entliusiastic attachment to 
the hereditary monarchical principle and the racial patriot- 
ism characteristic of the nineteenth century. 

Genuine national armies, however, and true militia are in 
reality eminently peaceful institutions, being in their very 
nature. suited to home defense, but not for aggression. What 
causes the professional soldier to look down on them, causes 
the civilian to admire them. And these are the kind of 
armies we must«have if we are serious in our desire for peace. 


Whoever advocates other armies is forging instruments of 
war, and is therefore responsible if his instruments in their 
turn do not infallibly bring about war. 

§ 81. — llie Reaction of the Military Party 

Scharnhorst, however, wanted armies for war, and it was his 
plans which were approved by King Frederick William III, 
in whose absolute power the ultimate decision lay. The peo- 
ple about this time were beginning to think of themselves as 
Germans; and in 1813 they went to war not to maintain 
-Prussia, but to obtain Germany. Then and even later it would 
have been easy to have had a large German National Army, 
if it had been desired to do so. But nothing of the sort was 
desired, and the only concession to the new era at length vnning 
frooi those in power was craftily to allow the people to imagine 
themselves to be forming a national army. 

It has often been scornfully observed that the only demo- 
cratic idea which has gained a foothold is that of national 
armies, and that they fought the battles of 1914. Such a re- 
proach does not apply to Germany; she has never had a true 
national army, and what feeble attempts at anything of the 
sort were made during the troublous times of the Wars of 
Liberation were strangled by professional soldiers before they 
could really come to anything. 

The military party is to be admired for the logical persist- 
ency with which it has succeeded in enforcing its will. In 
the first period of alarm civilians were appointed to the re- 
organization committee; and the first thing done was to bow 
them out with vast politeness. Thus the military men were 
by themselves once more, and could reorganize. True, it was 
not upon extremists such as Gneisenau that the work of reor- 
ganization fell, but on the more moderate Scharnhorst, who, 
however, was always, as Herr von Schon called him, a "regu- 
lar'* (soldier of the line). 

In his first memorandum of July 21, 1807,^ Scharnhorst still 

1 Reprinted in the "Militilrwochenblatt" for 1846, pp. 88-90. 


insists absolutely on the aristocratic importance of the stand- 
ing army, which he thinks ought to continue to be obliged to 
serve twenty years. Besides this, however, he wished to or- 
ganize a provincial militia or yeomanry, but solely for the 
purpose "of maintaining order in the country itself, assisting 
the police, protecting the country from the depredations of 
marauders, and preventing enemy incursions." He also 
thought it possible that later on the militia "might defend 
the country, together with the regular troops." 

Scharnhorst therefore, is chiefly thinking of somewhat bet- 
ter organized citizen guards, and it certainly never occurred 
to him that such a national army could be used for purposes 
of aggression. Gradually, however, this "militia," as it was 
intended to be, became increasingly diverted from its original 
purposes of defense pure and simple. The very next year 
he completed his "Preliminary Draft Constitution for Pro- 
vincial Troops,"^ in which he goes a step further. In § 8, 
for instance, he says : * ' The Provincial Troops are intended to 
insure order within the country itself, and to defend it against 
enemy attack. They shall only leave the province when the 
safety of the monarchy requires them to do so." Here we 
have the troops already permitted to leave their province and 
available for use throughout Prussia. There is still no word, 
however, of their being employed outside the kingdom. More- 
over, certain democratic guaranties are provided, as, for in- 
stance (§ 17), that the militia should be under officers chosen 
by themselves, chosen first of all by "all the members in a 
regiment," and so forth. 

But nothing came of all these projects. The only thing 
which did come about was the so-called Scharnhorst system, 
the sole purpose of which was to increase the standing army. 
The military men had failed to keep abreast of the new times. 

1 Reprinted in the supplement to the "Militarwochenblatt" for 1846 
(Jan.-Oet.) pp. 62-67. The number of soldiers provided for would 
correspond to about two millions in modern Germany, taking account of 
the population. 



§82.— T/ie People's Militia 

In January, 1813, came the astonishing news that Napo- 
leon's great allied army had perished in the arctic Russian 
winter, and, as can be imagined, all German patriots imme- 
diately desired to fall upon the prostrate tyrant. But the 
standing army was not large enough, and there was no militia. 
Then the estates of East Prussia set to work, and w^hat the 
Government, with all its discussion, had not been able to do 
in twenty years, the people achieved in ten weeks. 

On December 30, 1812, York von Wartenburg had gone 
over to the Russians, and on January 8 he reached Konigsberg 
with his troops, thus conferring a certain amount of freedom 
of movement on the citizens. On January 31, IMinister von 
Stein arrived in Konigsberg, and although he lost no time in 
falling out with York, and was in fact officially ruled abso- 
lutely out of count ; still, in the ensuing deliberations, there is 
no mistaking his influence and likewise that of President von 
Schon, who was also in Konigsberg. On February 5, Privy 
Councilor von Brand being in the chair, a meeting of deputies 
of the estates was held, which appointed a committee of seven, 
consisting of Dohna, Heidemann, Hinz, Keber, Lehndorf- 
Steinorth, and Schimmelpf ennig ; and on February 7 the 
*' Konigsberg Decisions,'' together with the complete draft of 
a scheme of organization, were sent to the king. Thus the 
deliberations were over in four days, and in four months the 
troops were levied, thoroughly trained, and already confront- 
ing the enemy. 

These militia regiments were welcomed. To be grateful for 
anything long being distasteful, however, military men soon 
set about proving that it was not the estates who suggested 
the training of the militia, but the king. It was actually as- 
serted that Schamhorst was the father of the militia ; that he 
had discussed his project for it with his disciple Clausewitz, 


who had worked it out in detail and afterward taken it to 
Russia; that then he had gone with the Russians to Konigs- 
berg, and thus Count Dohna had come to know of the plan. 
For us, however, this, question of who was first is of small 

As already stated, there were many projects for a national 
levy; and in any case it can hardly be called particularly 
original to suggest that, if an army is destroyed, the surviving 
civilians should come to the rescue. Everything depended 
on the spirit which was to animate this new army. Stein and 
Schon wanted it to be as far as possible purely for defense^ 
and therefore a factor in the promotion of civilization : whereas 
Scharnhorst wanted it to be for attack, and consequently 
something which many consider opposed to civilization. 

Eventually the military party was victorious ; and this being 
so, and Stein being, after all, merely an episode in Prussia, it 
must unquestionably be admitted that it is not he and Schon 
who were the fathers of the modern army, but Gneisenau and 

The main points of the Konigsberg decisions are as follows : 

The militia was not to be called up unless and until the 
enemy was advancing over the frontier, and it was to be em- 
ployed only in its own province (§1). 

It was to be based on universal liability to serve ; but men 
in holy orders and all descriptions of teachers were absolved, 
except officiating priests exceptionally highly qualified for 
their office (§2). 

The military authorities must have a say in the appointment 
of officers (§7). 

^ SS.— The Royal Militia 

In course of time all these regulations were modified. The 
king and his advisers took only six weeks to revise the de- 
cisions; but this was long enough to enable them to abolish 
the purely defensive purpose of the militia. Being still anx- 
ious, however, to get something out of the people, they were 


careful not to let their intentions be known. Hence, quite 
contrary to custom, the royal ordinance of March 17, 1813, 
contains no indication whatever as to the object of the new 
army regulations. The ordinance, indeed, is so very skilfully 
worded as at first sight to create an impression that the 
militia were in general to be employed only in the country 
itself. Thus in § 16 it is expressly stated that the militia 
may also be employed "outside their own district,'* which 
every sensible person would interpret as meaning that they 
could be employed an^^vhere in their native province, as stated 
in the Konigsberg Decisions. But any sensible person would 
have been wrong, and the Government quite right. France, 
for instance, and all the rest of the world, are also outside 
any particular district. 

A few unimportant apparent liberties were temporarily 
maintained, but election only by the soldiers themselves was 
manifestly a farce, and of the 237 higher and staff militia 
officers only two per cent, were civilians, and not a single 
brigadier was so. IMoreover, in § 17 it was decreed that the 
militia was subject to the discipline of the standing army, 
which amounted to its being virtually wholly at the mercy of 
the caprice of the chief war lords. This set the final seal to the 
fate of the militia as a defensive organization. It was now 
to develop into the most powerful instrument of attack ever 
known in the history of the world. 

In the succeeding century the Prussian militia was syste- 
matically transformed into an instrument of war. It had 
acquitted itself admirably of its original task ; but even when 
it mustered the advantage of the voluntary system was clear. 
Those who did not come spontaneously, like the East Prus- 
sians, did not come willingly in obedience to the king's com- 
mand six wrecks later. In Pomerania the militia took a very 
long while to assemble; in West Prussia hardlj'^ any one re- 
sponded to the call to arms; in parts of Silesia and also in 
Brandenburg rebellion broke out.* 

1 Thus llcrr Flt'sche, chief of police, reported on April 10, 1813, 


In the West Elbe provinces, however, where the general 
level of education was higher, particularly in Westphalia, 
matters went very badly. Here the people knew not only 
what French occupation, but also what French democratic 
rule, meant, and the Prussian commissioners met with angry 
resistance everywhere. Moreover, when the line troops and 
gendarmes at last succeeded in hunting up the people, they 
forthwith began to desert. It is important to form a true 
idea of how matters really stood then. Some certainly did 
volunteer, but the great majority of the army followed the 
drum only because compelled to do so. 

Nevertheless, the militia did free and protect the country, 
and it did achieve distinction (and likewise suffered heavily) 
in the battles of 1813. When the year ended, the enemy had 
been driven back across the Rhine, and the work of the militia 
Tvas over. 

§ 84. — The Transformation During the Wars of Liberation 

Meanwhile the guardians of the country, who ought to have 
been standing keeping faithful watch upon the Rhine, had 
come ' ' to think there was something very fine about hunting, ' ' 
and on January 1, 1814, when the first army corps under 
Bliicher crossed the Rhine and thus advanced into enemy ter- 
ritory, it included about seven thousand militiamen. They 
w^ere thus actually employed even outside the country for of- 
fensive purposes, although they did not give a particularly 
glorious account of themselves. Indeed, the 1814 campaign in 
general added little to the glory of Prussian military annals. 

Gradually, however, even the decision that universal liability 

from Potsdam, "that a large proportion of the militiamen did not 
appear, and those who did ventured to manifest their displeasure by 
making a noise. Some did not take the oath at all, and tried to en- 
courage those about them to do likewise." The chief of police was 
grieved "to have to say this about the inhabitants of a city which 
at all times has enjoyed the favor of your Majesty to quite an ex- 
ceptionally great extent." Most other people, however, will think it 
scarcely astonishing that the very town to rebel was the one which 
knew better than any other what militarism meant. 


to serve should be merely a temporary expedient for the war 
was evaded. True, after the Allies had taken Paris, after 
Napoleon's abdication and the return of the troops to their 
own country, Frederick William III would fain have kept his 
promise, and repealed the ordinance imposing on every young 
man the obligation to present himself for military service.^ 
The king's loyal intention, however, caused a revolution in 
the palace: there was a change in the ministry of war, and 
his Majesty was informed once for all that kingly promises 
must not be put on an equality with those of other mortals. 
Consequently on September 3, 1814, a law was promulgated, 
countersigned by all the ministers (Stein, of course, was no 
longer minister), and enacting, without any beating about the 
bush, that "the institutions therefore, to which this great 
success is owing, and the maintenance of which is desired hy 
the whole nation, shall form the main principles of the coun- 
try's military constitution." 

Now, if a national army had been then introduced, per- 
haps there would have been some justification for speaking of 
the desire of the nation; but the Government had realized 
that the popular institution of a militia could quite well be 
utilized to increase the army proper, and this new law was 
intended to cover the transition from the defensive militia to 
the large and offensive army. 

First, in the preamble to the bill, the character of the militia 
is clearly defined even for peace-time. 

Secondly, reservists who had served their full time were 
consigned to the militia (§ 8, b. and c). Hitherto the militia 
had been an independent institution, and it was allowable sud- 
denly to put it on a level with the standing army, especially in 
view of popular sentiment. From henceforth this distinc- 
tion begins to disappear. 

Thirdly, it was expressly decreed (§8) that the first-line 
militia (up to the thirty-second year) was to be employed 
abroad, though it is true that the second-line militia (up to 

1 Order in cabinet of May 27, 1814. 


the thirty-ninth year) might be employed in general only in 
the country itself, and the last-line (thirty-nine and over) 
only in their native province. 

Many passages of this law are by no means clear, which is 
not surprising when it is remembered that the people had not 
yet forgotten the freedom promised them in 1813. It was 
first put in force in 1815. In 1814 the militia overstepped its 
original limits only because the military rendered this im- 
perative. But now that Napoleon was for the second time on 
the throne of France the Allies determined to attack that 
country; and although on this occasion the seat of war was 
territory which was and always had been outside the country, 
yet the militia were instantly called up and sent abroad. It 
was thought needful to tell them in extenuation that, ** having 
won their independence, it was now necessary to fight to insure 
it." Thus still more of the defensive nature of the militia 
was laid aside. 


§ 85. — The New Militia 

Here endeth the history of the old militia. Its place was 
taken by another, new in almost every respect save the name 
and the cross, as Briiuer himself admits in his * ' History of the 
Prussian Militia.*' It was an adroit piece of statesmanship 
on the part of the Prussian Government to have used the popu- 
lar name of militia in order, in the course of half a century 
of peace, to forge therefrom a keen-edged, passive instrument 
of aggression. That it meant to do this and did it justifies 
the charge of militarism against the Prussian Government; 
but its success also proves that there must have been some 
militarism among the Prussian people. 

The authorities behaved as if they still conformed to the 
1814 law, and on November 21, 1815, they issued a ** Militia 
Ordinance." Even here provision is made for the civilian 
authorities having a voice in the election of officers, but with 


restrictions. The preamble still states that militia exists for 
home defense, and the second-line militia are still to be em- 
ployed only in their native provinces. Moreover, a few un- 
trained men were still included in the militia, thus making it 
appear more or less an improvised force intended for defense. 
But already the metamorphose was being prepared. Whereas 
in 1814 it was frankly stated that the militia were to be dis- 
banded in peace, the staff-officers and a few soldiers are now 
retained, about fifty per regiment; but these staff-officers 
were before long developed into so-called nuclei of about 150 
men per battalion. Each year this standing army was en- 
larged, until by 1819 their number had risen to 635. And all, 
as the king used to say, *'in recognition of the splendid en- 
thusiasm shown by the inhabitants with regard to the militia.'* 
By ordinance of March 25, 1814, even the militia uniform 
was altered, **in order intimately to connect them, even in 
externals, with the standing army.*' 

The game could now begin, and, after all, its rules were very 
simple. As the entire ' * nation in arms ' ' could not be included 
in a standing army, or in any other organization of the kind, 
at all events not all at once, the militia was first of all re- 
duced { !), and then assimilated to the standing army. Then, 
after the public had had time to get used to this measure, the 
militia was increased again. In principle the same thing hap- 
pened afterward almost every time that' the standing army 
was increased. New regiments were created without adding 
to the number of troops, but merely by transferring them 
from one regiment to another. For instance, three regiments 
of four battalions would be converted into four regiments of 
three. Then after a certain lapse of time these small regi- 
ments were declared '^ unsuitable for active service," and men 
were called for to make up the missing four battalions. 

Thus militia reserve regiments, militia instruction battal- 
ions, and other new formations came into existence, and in 
1821 the Government could already dispose of over 126,000 
militia so-called, besides 136,000 troops of the line. The mi- 


litia were intended for incorporaton in the army for active 
service, and thus were quite openly included in the offensive 
army. There were besides some 100,000 second-line troops, 
mainly militia, described as an army of occupation. 

§ 86. — Army and Revolution 

These organizations were altogether very adroitly created 
to insure closer connection with the troops of the line. In 
this there was a twofold object ; to acquire one uniform weapon 
against the foreigner, and also, as must never be forgotten, at 
the same time to glue the ''enemy at home," utterly routed 
as he was, so firmly into the army as to be able to use them as 
a weapon for fighting this very enemy. That is, to fight the 
militia system with militiamen. Thus officers in the militia 
guards were entirely abolished, and their places taken by 
officers of the guards who had served their time. Yet con- 
servative soldiers of the stamp of General von der Marwitz 
still spoke of the whole military system as a damned demo- 
cratic idea, and although the militia gave a good account of 
itself in suppressing the Polish insurrection of 1830, even 
until 1848 it was a question as to how it would behave in case 
of a revolution of the German element in it, despite all the 
officers of the guards. 

As a matter of fact, even when the militia was called up 
in 1848, a large number of them proved refractory, and ** out- 
rageous excesses" occurred, resulting in many bodies of militia 
being deprived of their colors, in token of their un worthiness. ' ' 
But now that they stood in battle-array between the soldiers of 
the line, they learned fast enough to fight against their fellow- 
citizens. Indeed, it seems as if the militiamen bore a par- 
ticular grudge against those who had caused ''unseemly tu- 
mults" and thus obliged them to do anything so much against 
the grain as to join the colors. Brauer (Vol. II, p. 162) even 
states that this hatred frequently found vent in "shooting 
prisoners dead and massacring enemies found concealed in 
conquered places." 


At this period, indeed, the German militiamen do not seem 
to have lost all sense of shame, for Lieutenant-Colonel von 
Bonin says, describing^ the evacuation, of some insurgents' 
houses; ''The invading parties came out again with blood- 
stained bayonets without boasting further of their perform- 
ances. This testified to a certain bashfulness on the part of 
the young soldiers, as if they were not sure whether they 
had done right." 

To cure such bashfulness, the authorities had a good remedy. 
They recollected that in general it was better in civil wars 
to employ soldiers from other parts, and indeed the Prussian 
militiamen in Posen, in the Rhenish Palatinate, and Baden 
could not have been accused of any lack of dash. Moreover, 
it was the militia who were most energetic. Thus Staroste 
writes : ^ 

I have endeavored to ascertain the feeling and opinions of Prus- 
sian military men concerning the Palatinate movement. I have not 
found a single real democrat among them, at all events not one who 
would have expressed his democratic leanings. Whenever they 
catch sight of a tattered individual, they at once call him a demo- 
crat. Even the Rhinelander is boiling over with hatred of democrats 
and political agitators, and the Prussians are still worse; but worst 
of all are the militia! 

The so-called "Baden'' campaign at least proved the capa- 
bility of Prussian militia. There was no doubt whatever that 
it was not really militia at all or a people's army, but a 
princely guard. Old Marwitz and men of that sort were ' ' idi- 
otic pessimists," and thus nothing any longer stood in the way 
of the militia being speedily and very greatly enlarged. 

A beginning was made by simply not entirely disbanding 
it when this ought to have been done, after the mobilization 
of 1850, but keeping back two hundred men as the "nucleus 
of a company." Then followed events too well known to 

1 Staroste's "Tagebuch liber die Ereignisse in der Pfalz und in Baden" 
("Diary of the Events in the Palatine and Baden"). Vol. 1, p. 199. 


recapitulate, the organization of 1871, which led to another 
dispute, and then the enormous increases of the army after 
1871, which led to no more disputes. And then the German 
Empire's wonderful military mechanism was ready, emperor 
and princes, parliament and people, having all slaved together 
hard to bring it about. 

It took precisely a hundred years. In 1814 the militia in- 
vaded France. In 1914 even the last-line troops were em- 
ployed in attacking the enemy abroad. A year ago, when this 
first happened in Belgium, a reassuring notice was issued 
about its being ** merely to occupy the newly acquired parts 
of the country, which were already as good as German terri- 
tory.** Since then, however, last-line troops militia and line 
troops have been used absolutely indiscriminately, thereby 
effacing the last reminiscences of the militia having once been 
an integral part of the country's ** system of defense.** 

The German last-line troops now are virtually nowhere 
fighting on German soil. The majority of the German people 
are glad about this, as they are quite entitled to be; but in 
so far as they have still any desire to think for themselves, 
they must admit that it means that the militia are being 
employed for purposes the opposite of those for which they 
were originally created. There may be a great deal to be 
said for this, but from the point of view of peace and 
progress it is singularly regrettable. 

§ 86a. — Universal Military Service in Europe 

In all countries, free Albion excepted, events have taken a 
similar course, thus bringing about the institution of stand- 
ing armies, which theorists ignorant of the world and self- 
seeking politicians ^ have described as guaranteeing peace, 
and which could not fail to lead to the disaster of 1914. 

I have endeavored to describe how this singular institution 

1 Real Politiker. I have intentionally chosen this courteous epitliet, 
but future generations are more likely to call them, more aptly, 
"fools and criminals." 


actually came into existence, and in particular to show that 
in ueality universal liability to serve is merely a great historical 
misconception of the universal duty of bearing arms. This 
is so clear from the facts cited that the attentive reader will 
perhaps even believe it ; but I am convinced that a dry record 
of facts and figures cannot possibly touch any one's feelings. 
But as I want such events to stir the conscience even of the 
dullest mortal, I am recapitulating all the facts in this chapter, 
clothing them in the words of a poet ^ trying to make a foolish 
world give ear to his words of wisdom and despair. As for 
his chief charaeter, Choulettey in his view **le regime actuel 
n'etait qu'hypocrisie et brutalite. Le militarisme lui faisait 
horreur.'* Choiilette says: 

"La caserne est une invention hideuse des temps modemes. Elle 
ne remonte qu'au XVII siecle. Avant, on n^avaid que le bon corps 
de garde ou les soudards jouaient aux cartes et faisaient des contes 
de Merlusine. Louis XIV est un precurseur ^ de la Convention et 
de Bonaparte. Mais le mal a atteint sa plenitude depuis I'institu- 
tion monstrueuse du service pour tous. Avoir fait une obligation 
aux hommes de tuer, c'est la lionte des empereurs^ et des repub- 
liques, le crime des crimes. Aux ages qu'on dit barbares, les villes 
et les princes confiaient leur defense a des mercenaires qui faisaient 
la guerre en gens avises et prudents ; il n'y avait parf ois que cinq ou 
six morts dans une grande bataille. Et quand les chevaliers alla- 
ient en guerre, du moins n'y etaient-ils point forces; ils se faisaient 
tuer pour leur plaisir. Sans doute n'etaient-ils bons qu'a cela. 
Personne, au temps de saint Louis, n'aurait eu I'idee d'envoyer a la 
bataille un homme de savoir et d'entendement. Et Ton n'arrachait 
pas non plus le laboureur a la glebe pour le mener a I'ost. Main- 
tenant on fait un devoir a un pauvre paysen d'etre soldat. On 
I'exile de la maison dont le toit fume dans le silence dore du soir, 

i"Le Lys Rouge," by Anatole France. Calman-L6vy: Paris, pp. 116- 

2 Anatole France is a Frenchman, a good Frenchman, too, and thus 
naturally feels doubly keenly the responsibility of his own country. 
Consequently it is mainly France which he accuses. 

3 Did Anatole France perhaps intentionally omit to mention the 
United "Kingdom" of Great Britain? 


des grasses prairies oii paissent les boeufs, des champs, des bois 
patemels; on lui enseigne, dans la cour d'une vilaine caserne, a 
tuer regulierement des hommes; on le menace, on I'injurie, on le 
met en prison; on lui dit que c'est un honneur, et, s'il ne veut point 
s'honorer de cette maniere, on le fusille. II obeit parce qu'il est 
sujet a la peur et de tons les animaux domestiques le plus doux, le 
plus riant et le plus docile." 

In this last sentence of Anatole France there is much truth ; 
it may be the whole truth. I do not wish to detract from the 
weight of his words by dissecting them; I would merely ask 
the reader to reflect for ten minutes on the following — that 
universal serv^ice is a sign of man's fearsomeness and docility, 
of his willingness to obey and his ever-read iness to smile. 

As I write, the last act of the drama is coming to an end. 
England seems inclined to introduce universal service. **Only 
for the war," it is added soothingly; but in Prussia it began 
in just the same way — '*only for the war." It is not for me 
to advise England, but I would remind her of Schiller's ref- 
erence to her in his ''Fleet Invincible," the finest utterance of 
a free man to a free people; 

"Soil "warklich denn mein Albion vergehen, 
Erloschen meiner Helden Stamm, 
Der Unterdruckung letzter Felsendamm 
Zusammenstiirzen, die Tyrannenwehre 
Vernichtet sein von dieser Hemisphare? — 
Bang schaut auf dich der Erdenball 
Und aller freien Manner Herzen scblagen, 
Und alle guten, scbonen Seelen klagen, 
Teilnehmend deines Ruhmes fall." 

' This time, however, matters are more serious. A foreign 
military power then menaced England's coast, and it was 
scattered to the winds, as happens to all military power; but 
this time militarism is gnawing at England's marrow from 
the inside outw^ard. It is even ready to throw open the door 


to the tyrant, and then the last bulwark against tyranny will 
be overthrown. 

It may be that England's trial to-day is severer and her 
position more difficult than ever before; but all the more 
does it become the bounden duty of all Europeans to assert 
their proud determination to break in pieces their old swords 
and to forge no more new ones. 

For if England now introduces universal military service, 
all Europe is her accomplice, and every man in Europe is as 
much responsible therefor as for the ** unavoidable conse- 
quences of the militarism of 1914.'* 

Wherein Patriotism Is Rooted 


§ 87. — Inevitable Decadence 

War is wrong, harmful, and needless. Then why do we 
wage war, we twentieth-century mortals? And why do we 
even love war? 

The external causes for this love of war have already been 
set forth, but there is the further fact that, without our being 
fully aware of it, war stirs us to the very depths of our being; 
and that it is perhaps the last great carouse of which even a de- 
generate nation can dream. Such simple things as truth and 
beauty, freedom and progress, evoke merely a tired smile, 
like that of an old man recalling his youthful follies. Some- 
thing stronger and more tangible in the way of a stimulant 
is now needed to arouse the enthusiasm. Such a stimulant for 
a nation is war, for an old man, wine. Verily, war is as sweet 
wine, and should a nation drink itself young again with wine, 
this is what Goethe meant by a ''precious quality." It is a 
reminder of its youthful days, with their wonderful light- 
heartedness, their pardonable selfishness, and their boundless 
capacity for self-sacrifice. 

This intoxication is what is great about war. This it is 
which has inspired poets and painters, and any one who has 
ever witnessed the outbreak of war will admit that the ele- 
mental force of sudden enthusiasm with which vast num- 
bers of people are suddenly carried away creates absolutely 
the impression of their acting instinctively, but never of their 
acting intelligently. Yet no one will own to having warlike 
instincts, for it is with war, as with wine, w^hich we love not 



for wine's sake, but for the sake of the feeling which it pro- 
duces in us. Similarly human beings, at any rate superior 
human beings, do not love war for its own sake, but because 
it awakens primitive and hallowed sentiments in us — senti- 
ments which we collectively call patriotism. "We love war be- 
cause we think it necessary to our mother-country, but without 
patriotism war would be inconceivable to-day. Tolstoy ^ is 
right : so long as patriotism survives there will always be war ; 
for, as Maupassant- says, it is **the egg of wars.'* The war 
giant, like Antaeus, cannot be vanquished as long as it is per- 
petually deriving fresh strength from contact with that love of 
country wherein it has its source. 

To-day patriotism seems more powerful than ever. Even 
nations which have no historical claim whatever to love their 
country are behaving as if this were not the case. All the 
separatism of past centuries has been revived again in this 
patriotism which even the smallest tribes, hitherto held to- 
gether by nothing whatsoever, have suddenly discovered in 
themselves. Even the Jews, who for two thousand years were 
scattered about among all peoples that on earth do dwell, have 
found out that they, too, have a patriotism, and are becoming 
national Zionists; even the Americans, who are, after all, 
quite a recent conglomeration of miscellaneous peoples, are 
becoming patriots and imperialists. Such a paroxysm of 
patriotism, however, is suspicious, and resembles the flaring 
up of a candle before it flickers out. 

Men did not become really fond of yachting and horse- 
racing until sailing-ships and horses had been superseded by 
better methods of communication. Similarly patriotism did 
not grow out of bounds until it had already ceased to be a 
valuable factor in civilization. The principle, **my country 
right or wrong" -^ could not get a hold on the world until there* 

1 "Patriotism and Government," in Tolstoy's reliijjious and ethical 
pamphletti, Vol. II. 

'^ "Mon oncle Sosth5ne," by Guy de Maupassant. 

s In English in the original, but in bad English. — Translator. 


was no longer a law student in existence, not even the 
humblest, who would have ventured seriously to defend such 
a dogma; and '*the Country" never became a conception 
transcending all others, and throwing all others into the shade, 
until mankind had already begun to create ''universal unions" 
and other ' ' world-wide institutions. ' ' 

Such is the fate of decadence. But though a man should 
speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and prove with 
flawless logic that war is foolish and despicable; and then 
were another to come and say, "Quite true, but the country 
wants it," there would be nothing to be done. The second 
man would come off victorious. 

§ 88. — The Commanding Position of Patriotism 

Being in the nature of an instinct, patriotism seems as if 
it could neither be exterminated nor overcome. The reason 
why war against war is so hard is just because virtually 
every one loves his own country more devotedly than anything 
else whatsoever. The thorough bass of patriotism drowns or 
silences all other sentiments. In peace the Christian may 
love God before all else, and the free-thinking monist the 
brotherhood of man ; the esthete may put art and its wondrous 
works before everything else, and the workman place socialism 
first: yet so soon as war breaks out against God's ordinance, 
when cathedrals are reduced to dust, and the international 
bonds uniting the working-classes and men of science 
throughout the world are broken in sunder. Christian and 
freethinker, esthete and working-man, all look on and ap- 
prove, while all our other conceptions of truth, goodness, and 
beauty dissolve before the magic words, ^"for the sake of the 
country '* — that country which men put before religion and 
art, science and politics, and therefore even before civiliza- 
tion, which, after all, is only an abstract fusion of them all. 

In thus setting the country on high, we forget one thing. 
At best our country cannot be more than the form in which, 
in our opinion, religion, art, science, and politics, civilization 



in short, can best prosper. Wlio would really stoop so low as 
to esteem, a people more highly merely because he himself 
belonged to it unless he were profoundly convinced of its 
being in every respect superior to other nations? This is so 
self-evident as far as any patriotism which can be taken seri- 
ously is concerned that I do -not believe any one will venture to 
assert the contrary. 

But this being so, then the noblest love of country, after all, 
merely amounts to setting too high a value on the form in 
comparison with the contents. This is the commonest mis- 
take that half-educated people make, they being fundamentally 
incapable of distinguishing inward reality from outward 
show. "With patriotism, in short, as with religion and science, 
it is the same thing: if allowed to go too far, it becomes a 
dogmatic commonplace. 

When a man has once realized, however, that all patriotism 
which can be taken seriously must to a certain extent in- 
evitably do away with patriotism, or at any rate set a limit 
to its growth, then, despite all instinctive enthusiasm, he may 
perhaps set about inquiring more closely into what patriot- 
ism is really based upon. 

We want to be just to patriotism. It is not the '* greatest 
thing in the world," neither is it such an altogether bad 
thing as extreme Internationalists endeavor to make it out. 
Just because they did so represent it, however, they failed to 
carry with them the sane-minded mass of the people, or even 
to make them see how much there is wrong and unjustifiable in 
so-called "modern patriotism." There is, in short, no uncon- 
ditional patriotism, for it, too, depends on circumstances, and 
cannot be judged aright save by taking these into account. 

Patriotism is three-rooted in three sentiments. Two of 
them, a man's love of his native land and family love, are 
hereditary instincts, which we can all easily understand and 
which are probably common to us all, because of our common 
past. But the third root reaches out into the future: it is 
man's social longing, his desire to join with other men to form 


large associations. Now, as no two persons view the future 
alike, it is here that patriotism divides, and here that the good 
parts company with the bad. 



§ 89, — An AnimaVs Love for His Native Surroundings, and 
a Human Being's Love of Them. Attachment to Surround- 
ings Indicates Suitahiltiy for Them. 

Our love for our native land is an inheritance, originally 
transmitted to us by animals. The less an organism is 
adapted to the general conditions of the world and the more 
it is suited to the special conditions of its own surroundings, 
the more deeply rooted may it be said to be in its native land. 
In this respect the history of evolution shows ups and downs. 
The lowest forms of life, for instance, many bacteria even 
now, need only certain omnipresent conditions such as air, 
light, water, and some few food-stuffs which occur everywhere 
in order to exist. Thus, being cosmopolitan, they do not need 
to be limited to a native element. 

Gradually, however, every creature becomes more and more 
closely adapted to peculiar conditions. The fish must swim in 
water, and the trout, if it is to thrive, even requires spring 
water; the monkey can live only in warm woods, and the 
orang-outang, indeed, only in the primeval tropical forests of 
the East Indian archipelago; birds need air, but the condor 
needs certain special conditions besides, which he can find in 
the Andes alone. This increasing adaptation to a specific cli- 
mate and this growing disinclination to depart from a certain 
area, which may be compared with growing attachment to our 
native land, are interrupted when the youthful human race 
makes its first tool. 

This is not the place to show how man used his tools to 
acquire freedom in every respect. I shall content myself 
with pointing out the obvious fact that the use of tools abol- 
ishes the natural compulsion exerted by love of country, since 


with the aid of tools (using this word in the broadest sense) 
man learns to adapt himself to the most varied conditions. 
Unlike the countless tools of animals which have grown to be 
part of them, such as beaks, teeth, prehensile tails, probosces, 
burrowing feet, etc., human tools can be laid aside or 
changed at any moment. With his clothing of various thick- 
nesses man can live in the tropics and at the north pole, 
whereas an animal has either a bare skin or a thick coat. 

The tiger must fall upon his prey, and consequently in- 
habit a district where prey abounds; for his claws are part 
of himself. The mole must dig, and consequently creep into 
the earth, being unable to lay aside his burrowing foot. The 
horse must be a fleet animal, and therefore cannot quit the 
steppes ; for he cannot put his hoof to any purpose except run- 
ning. Man, however, can exchange his sword for a plowshare, 
and be both farmer and warrior at once. By making a tool of 
the horse, and hoisting himself on to his back, he can even 
appropriate his swiftness; and he can actually intensify this 
speed by building railways and steamers, airships, and motor- 
cars. Thus he is able to live everywhere. 

Owing to man s free intellect, therefore, the foremost person 
is no longer he who is best adapted to certain surroundings, 
but he who has most unlimited control over the outer world. 
IMan's attachment to his native soil, therefore, is a relic of the 
animal in him, and originated in the savage's dread of the 
unknown. No one, moreover, who has endeavored to judge 
human nature impartially can have failed to observe that love 
of country is in the case of most of us a romantic senti- 
ment, strongly tinctured with the influence of Chateaubriand 
and the many others who have invented modern love of nature 
for us. We love German forests not merely for their own 
sake, but because from Diirer to Leistikow thousands have 
painted them; because, from Walter von der Vogelweide to 
Eichendorff, thousands have sung their praises; because 
Tieck coined the phrase lonely as the woods; because there 
the German oak grows and the German lime-tree, too. In 


short, we love the forests not only for their own sake, but be- 
cause they have come to be a symbol to us. 

Honest love of country, however, is wholly different. It is 
a genuine necessity, and is greatest among backward peoples, 
who have really grown up part and parcel of their native land. 
Once forcibly transplanted therefrom, they can never settle 
down properly anywhere else. Who are the people in 
Europe most famous for their attachment to their native soil 
before ever modern affectation ^ had insisted on every one 's 
worshiping the art of his own country? They are first and 
foremost the Swiss mountain peasants, who could not live 
without their mountains and cows ; the fishermen of the Volga, 
to whom Mother Volga means the world ; and the Icelanders, 
who prefer their stern native land to all the luxury of central 
Europe. All these folk have remained comparatively primi- 
tive, and the lower we descend the scale of ethnology, the 
stronger we shall find this unconquerable attachment to the 
ways and customs of the mother-country. 

Surprise has often been felt that the sons of primitive 
peoples, Indians and Maoris, for instance, whom supposed 
good fortune has transferred to comfortable European sur- 
roundings, could yet never be at home there; in fact, that 
even many civilized savages, who had apparently become quite 
inured to European ways, having even completed their courses 
as university students with distinction, should yet have taken 
the first opportunity to go back to the bush and become naked 
savages again. But there is nothing surprising in this, for 
their primitive brains are simply incapable of feeling at home 
in such complex new conditions. Hence there are absolutely 
natural reasons why they should be attached to their native 
soil in a way which to us at first seems incomprehensible. 

1 "Snohiismus" is the word used, but all students of modern French 
will perceive that Nicolai means what the French call "sno6isme" 
rather than what we call "snobbishness." There is, so far as I know, no 
exact English translation of ''snobisme,*' but it is, I think, nearer 
"aflfectation" than snobbishness. — ^Translator. 


§ 90. — Overcoming our Love of Our Native Soil. 

If I mistake not, it was Macaulay who first pointed out that 
although love of a man 's native soil and patriotism were identi- 
cal in small communities, such as the Greek republics, the 
Swiss cantons, and the German imperial cities, for here the 
narrow confines of ''home" really represented a definite con- 
ception, yet in the larger communities of to-day this is no 
longer so in the least. As RatzeP truly says: ** Meantime, 
the German's associations are only with his country or bit of 
country. In the case of the Old Bavarian, however, this 
country does not extend to Franconia, and in the case of the 
Prussian not necessarily west of the Elbe." On the other 
hand, the dweller in the low-lying plains of North Germany 
finds what is to him a more kindred homelike land in the 
Asiatic lowlands as far as the Yenisei than in all southern 

The natural mother-land of the South German, on the 
contrary, extends far beyond Germany southward and west- 
ward ; indeed, the dweller in the low-lying plains of the upper 
Rhine would more easily feel at home in Lombardy than on 
the Ltineburg Heath. 

Thus a man's natural attachment to his native soil must of 
necessity tend toward narrowness, and really it is just the 
highly, far-seeing nations who have grown beyond this innate 
love of their native soil ; for they have learned not to dread the 
unknown and to have open eyes and ears for appreciating 
beauty throughout the world. The educated Greeks of a later 
day were at home everywhere in the then known world; the 
Romans, again, were more attached to Greece than to their 
own country. Indeed, they not infrequently called them- 
selves barbarians ; and Tacitus and others even discovered per- 
petual beauties in the misty land of Germania. From time 

1 "Deutschland. Einfiihrung in die Heimatkunde" ("Germany. An 
introduction to the Knowledge of our own Country), by Friedrich Rat- 
x.e\, p. 312, Leipsic, 1898. 


immemorial we Germans have had an uncontrollable long- 
ing for the South, and it is just the 'Snost highly civilized" 
nation on earth which is freest from this kind of love of 
country', for the proud Briton knows that in a sense he is 
able to take his country round the world with him. He has 
conquered the world just because he hunts elks in Scandi- 
navia, tracks bears in Russia, shoots tigers in India and lions 
in Africa, always like an Englishynaii. He has conquered 
the world, in short, just because ' ' Home, sweet home ' ' for him 
is no longer anything but a romantic idyll.^ 

Thus this primitive root of patriotism, love of our native soil, 
or native heath or native steppes, has in process of time ceased 
to be of any value as a factor in evolution. Even Gottfried 
Keller,^ whom assuredly no one would accuse of want of at- 
tachment to his mountains and to everything German, recog- 
nized that modern patriotism was becoming a clog upon the 
minds of men. 

Volkstum und Sprache sind das Jiigendland, 
Darin die Volker waclisen und gedoihen. 
Das Mutterhaus, nach dem sie selinend sclireien, 
Wenn sie versclilagen sind auf fremden Strand, 
Doch macnhmal werden sie zuni Gangt'll)and, 
Sogar zur Kette um den Hals der Freien; 
Dann treiben Langsterwaclisene Spielereien 
Genarrt von der T^Tannen schlauer Hand. 
Hier trenne sich der lang vereinte Strom! 
Versiegend schwinde der im alten Staube, 
Der andere breche sich ein neues Bette! 
Denn einen Pontifex nur fasst der Dom, 
Das ist die Freiheit, der polit'sche Glaube, 
Der lost und bindet jede Seelenkette ! 

iDr. Nicolai, like every one else, is entitled to his own opinion. His 
writing affords much more proof of knowledge of hiology than of 
knowledge of English cliaracter, his notions of which seem to be 
purely theoretical. — Translator. 

2 "Nationalitat," in Gottfried Kell^r'^ ^'Collected Poems," 1889. 
Wilhelm Herz; Berlin. 


§91. — The Organic Family Instinct. Nomadic Tribe or 

The primitive tribes which human beings united to form in 
olden times owe their origin partly to the human tribal 
instinct and partly to the family instinct. Neither were ever 
wholly separate, nor are they now. The family instinct 
gradually widened until it became a racial instinct, if it be 
allowable to speak of a race all of whose members spring from 
a common stock. The tribal instinct simply compelled a fairly 
large number of human beings to club together to form warlike 
nomadic tribes, and therefore has really nothing to do with 
their having sprung from a common stock. It merely indi- 
cates that human beings feel more at ease with a number of 
their fellows than alone. 

Originally the family instinct was confined to maternal af- 
fection, which, with the impulse to feed, is perhaps the oldest 
instinct known to us. But whereas feeding is purely selfish, 
maternal affection is the most primeval impulse which is not 
devoid of ^'altruism*' and which has nevertheless not ceased 
to be selfish ; for although the child is already another being, 
yet the mother feels it to be something belonging to her own 
self. Not till maternal affection expanded into family af- 
fection and finally into universal fraternal affection did the 
altruism in it become manifest. The original nature of the 
sentiment, however, remained unchanged. Once more we see 
that in nature there is no beginning, and even what seems to be 
new and wholly unlike anything in the past is in reality only 
a development of the old. It was long believed, indeed, that 
maternal affection was solely due to the mother's feeling a 
child is flesh of her flesh and bone of her bone. But something 
similar to maternal affection can be proved to have existed 
even before any question of sentiment can have arisen, since 
the parents did not as yet know their own offspring, indeed 
often never saw them. 

In common parlance, it is true, we no longer speak of 


maternal affection or even of maternal instincts, but of 
' ' nature 's maternal forethought. ' ' For this Autenrieth intro- 
duced the fine and appropriate name of ' ' organic instinct, ' ' by 
which he virtually means that as a matter of fact in creatures 
on so low a level no modification takes place in the rest of 
the organism. There are countless instances of such organic 
maternal instincts. The fact that the more offspring an ani- 
mal produces, the smaller and more helpless these offspring are 
must not be forgotten, for the only object in these vast num- 
bers being born is that, despite all persecution, some may 
still survive. The creation of pectoral glands which secrete 
suitable nourishment, of birds' crops for the purpose of pre- 
digestion and of pouches for carrying young, are all facts 
proving how mother love has triumphed. 

Then comes a series of facts which may, indeed, be connected 
with instincts, but which are also wholly and solely attributable 
to mother love, although at first sight they seem to have noth- 
ing to do with it. Among these facts are rutting periods, 
which are always so timed that the young are not bom in 
tlie cold of winter, but when young, juicy plants or young, 
easily digestible animals are to be found. 

Countless instincts of insects serve similar purposes. When 
laying their eggs, many insects seem to exercise aluiost incredi- 
ble foresight, so that the future larviB may be able to creep 
forth in suitable conditions; and yet no such insect has ever 
survived the birth of its offspring. In the case of the higher 
animals, particularly birds and mammals, such compelling 
instincts constantly tend to become freer, that is, to depend 
more and more on the intelligence. As their brain constantly 
increases in activity it must learn to think for the offspring ; 
and if this is to be the case, some feeling must necessarily 
exist. Such a feeling is mother love. 

§ 92. — The Change m Racml Instincts 

Thus mother love, like most of our sublimest sentiments, can 
be traced backward through the animal kingdom to the time 


when it was still an organic instinct ; that is, a purely animal 
quality. This in nowise detracts from the value of such 
a sentiment, but once we perceive that, after all, it 
merely represents the equivalent of former physical quali- 
ties already partly extinct, we shall cease to be con- 
vinced there and then that such sentiments are eternally 
valuable. To offend against them, therefore, becomes no worse 
than inflicting bodily injury; and we realize that in certain 
circumstances even maternal love may have to yield to some- 
thing higher. If mankind in general should one day care 
for all children, as is not beyond the bounds of possibility, 
because it has realized that this would be a good thing, then 
maternal affection would be nothing but a rudimentary in- 
stinct, perhaps even in the way, just as the appendix, once use- 
ful, is now useless, and merely a cause of disease. 

If, however, this applies to maternal affection, how much 
more does it apply to its derivative family affection and, above 
all, to racial affection! Both family and racial affection are 
of very mixed origin. Thoroughly human and occasionally 
anything but desirable elements are inter mdngled with both. 
The reason why maternal affection could expand into family 
affection was that not only did the mother love her child, but 
the man his descendants. Modern research long since ascer- 
tained that monogamous marriage is no natural institution. 
Man is by nature polygamous and philoneistic. Originally 
promiscuity prevailed between all men and women belonging 
to migratory tribes, just as all animals living in herds are 
polygamous, and only a few creatures living alone — a num- 
ber of birds, for instance — are monogamous. We now know 
with absolute certainty that everywhere the monogamic period 
succeeded the so-called matriarchate period only after the wife 
had become the slave of the husband, who regarded her as a 
valuable domestic animal and wished to make sure of his right 
to own her, as if she had been a cow or a sheep. At the same 
time that the woman was enslaved and taken possession of by 
the husband, private ownership of other property began to 


come in. To inherit this legitimately the husband then de- 
sired to found a ''legitimate" family within certain well- 
defined limits. The sacredness of the family, therefore, is 
really based merely on the sacredness of private property ; and 
the very nations that to-day set most store by the possession 
of material property (the Jews, for example), are those who 
still consider the family most sacred. The sources of family 
affection, therefore, have at all times been not only the pure 
well-springs of mother affection, but also the turbid waters of 
slavery and property ownership. 

As for racial affection, it is, after all, nothing but expanded 
family love. We love human beings whom we believe to be 
descended from the same ancestors as ourselves, and whom we 
therefore suppose to belong to the same great family. Thus 
we see that even the second source of patriotism consists of 
troubled waters, and how foul they often are we shall realize 
more clearly in analyzing race patriotism (§ 99). 


§ 93. — The Explanation of Public-Spirit edness 

An association of human beings seems to us more important 
than an individual man, and by general consensus of opinion 
the origin of associations is put at a later date than that of 
human beings. Some thought sex accounted for the formation 
of associations. A human being, it was said, founded a fam- 
ily, branches of this family then arose, and these formed into 
villages and towns and afterward into states. Others saw the 
explanation in civilization, arguing that certain occupations, 
such as agriculture, or, as Schiller says, Ceres, caused man to 
associate with his fellow-man. 

As was shown in discussing man's original tendency to 
herd together, and as anthropologists long ago proved, these 
views do not really go to the root of the matter. It was not 
man who founded society, hut society ^ which was his primary 
state, was the collectivity which first produced the individual 


mem. In other words, society is older than man, and man's 
ancestors lived in herds when they were still in an animal 
state. Man, therefore, always has been of Aristotle's Zoon 
politikon — the social animal. The universal brotherhood of 
man and humanitarian ideas generally are in no sense ab- 
stract notions, but the most solid facts. Thus what we have 
to explain is not how bloodthirsty animals became peace-loving 
human beings, but, contrariwise, how it happened that man, 
the social animal, should have become warlike. 

But deeply rooted and at all times innate as is this humani- 
tarian instinct of man's, yet it must everlastingly be strug- 
gling against the no less inborn instinct of egoism. We are 
inwardly cast in human form, and the instrument for using 
our humanity to the uttermost is at hand, only we human 
beings do not yet know how to play upon it. Hitherto the 
pure sound of this music of harmony to come has never been 
heard on earth; only the favored few heard the soft strains 
of the future and delighted therein. 

Mankind 's social aspirations, therefore, are beckoning to him 
to advance toward an ideal which is not something vague and 
unknown, enveloped in the mists of ages to come, but some- 
thing which we can already see as clear as daylight before us, if 
only with the mind's eye. 


Different Species of Patriotism 

1. — ^LOCAL patriotism 

§ 94. — Natural Patriotism 

German patriotism, like every other, is something large 
and complex, containing very many almost indefinable ele- 
ments. There is, first, attachment to our native tongue, in 
whose accents we first learned to make our wants known, 
which first made us feel intelligent beings, and in whose 
accents we first learned about goodness, truth, and beauty 
in our childhood's years, when we were still sensitive to beauty 
and goodness. This attachment includes others — attachment 
to all the kind people whom we knew when we were children, 
and who were almost all Germans; to all the great men who 
first aroused our enthusiasm, Goethe, Kant, Beethoven, and 
many hundreds of others; to much that is beautiful; to our 
forests and lakes, our old churches and ballads. We are not 
always aware of this, but so it is, and the patriotism of those 
very persons who are now declaring that it is unpatriotic to 
like the Lorelei song because Heinrich Heine wrote it is 
partly based on this oft-sung song. Then there is also the 
recollection of many things endeared to us merely by trivial 
custom, and not simply such things as German beer and 
German jollity. A great deal else besides for which other 
nations envy us — for instance, German thoroughness and love 
of order, German music and German humor — cannot be under- 
stood or judged aright save by those bom just on the little 
spot between the Rhine and the Memel; while Silesian and 
Bavarian dumplings help to develop another and more special 



local attachment. German forests and Strasburg cathedral, 
the Colmar Crucifixion and the North German steppes are 
all integral parts of our German patriotism. 

French patriotism is altogether different. In it traces of the 
Renaissance survive, and of the great Revolution, of Bur- 
gundy and champagne, of the marvelous delicacy of a Corot 
and the Gallic wit of a Voltaire. The Napoleonic legend 
also intervenes, the cupola of. the dome of Les Invalides 
glows in the setting sun, and the Provengal troubadour sings 
freely of the *'I)onna franca et cortezza/' and extols the 
*'gesta dei per francos/' the divine deeds of the Franks. 

The solid basis for these human aspirations will be dis- 
cussed in Chapter XIII on '*The World as an Organism.'* It 
is enough to point out here that mankind can never be com- 
pletely in harmony unless all human beings feel as brethren 
and comrades. Thus man 's primeval impulse to look forward 
is not only the root of all patriotism, but also the crowning 
point of all genuine, true, and eternal love of country. 

§ 95. — True and False Patriotism 

True and false patriotism here part company, and do so of 
their own accord. Wherever local patriotism, however local 
it may be, tends to make humanity more human, or, if the 
phrase be preferred, to promote patriotism of the human race, 
it is justified; but wherever it tends to hinder this one great 
aim of man, it is reprehensible. 

This idea is part and parcel of mankind. It was not real- 
ized all at once, however, for first the egoism of the individual 
man had to be overcome, and for this it was necessary for men 
to unite together. Municipal patriotism was justified in over- 
coming the selfish designs of the robber barons. The concep- 
tion of a state triumphed when it had to be applied to whole 
civilizations, such as modern national governments. Hence 
no one will ever succeed in undoing what has been done once 
and for all by the struggles of the nineteenth century, in which 
men patriotically joined together, thereby insuring the victory 


of national patriotism. National states now exist, needing 
only to be perhaps slightly improved. Hence national patriot- 
ism would not now be justitied save in a few oppressed terri- 

New problems are now awaiting us, only we are attempting 
to solve them by the same methods as answered in the case of 
the old problems. Patriotism is no longer a springboard for 
man in his endeavors to take heaven by storm, for its 
aims are no longer progressive, but retrogressive. The pa- 
triotisms involved in the present conflict bring us no nearer 
the final patriotism of mankind ; there is no genuine patriotism 
about them. 

What of England and English patriotism? it may be asked. 
Newton and Faraday, Cromwell and Shakspere, the Habeas 
» Corpus Act, the World's First Parliament, Scottish ballads, 
i^i^t^'^hisky, British soldiers in the desert, Trafalgar and Aboukir 
Bay, a world-wide empire, and plum pudding — all these 
create a feeling against which no Britisher could ever be quite 
proof. And this is as it should be, for this absolutely natural 
attachment to those who were young with us to the place of 
our birth and the habits with which we grew up needs no ex- 
planation, and is nowise disrespectful to any other place, any 
other human being, or any other habits. 

As every man loves and ought to love his wife, albeit he 
knows that other women are perhaps more beautiful, wiser, 
and better, even so every human being not only may, but 
ought to, love his own country. Only he must not forget that 
this is a matter of personal predilection, and that other men 
are just as much entitled to have predilection for another 

Above all we must reflect that patriotism is not a simple, un- 
varying sentiment, but is variable and composite. Certain 
elements, such as attachment to our mother-tongue, are almost 
invariably present, but apart from this we must realize the 
fact of a glow of pleasure and satisfaction coming over us all 
at the sound of our native country's name has many and 


complex causes. The sources of the sentiment of ''home,'' 
although in general traceable to the three cardinal causes I 
have set forth above, vary immensely in the case of each in- 
dividual person. Every one fixes upon what seems to him 
most essential, and makes his patriotism symbolical thereof. 
In this universal form the sentiment of home is one of the 
sacred mysteries of mankind — a priceless possession, like art 
and beauty. 


§ 96. — The Affection of Suhjeds 

Such vague love of our homeland, however, is not of much 
practical value. It is onlj^ in ballads that kings talk as 
Henry did to Douglas: 

Der ist in tiefster Seele treu, 
Der die Heimat liebt, wie Du I 

They generally demand an outspoken attachment to one 
well-defined fatherland. By old Roman law the father was 
he whose name w^as mentioned in the marriage contract {Pater 
est quern nuptia\demonstrant). Similarly, whatever country 
is to be accounted a man's fatherland or his mother-country 
must have the proper colors flying over it. Countless elements 
go to make up patriotism, yet here we have the least important 
selected as its distinctive characteristic. 

Almost everj^where in Europe for about a thousand years 
we have known none but railed-off countries on a dynastic 
basis. Thus, owing to unconscious association of ideas, at- 
tachment to the hereditary ruling house has become almost 
the same thing as patriotism ; and modern Prussia, where this 
dynastic patriotism is most strongly marked, was quite right 
in substituting the motto "With God for king and country" 
for the old motto ^^pro patria et gloria/^ thus placing king 
before country. 

This time-honored fidelity to a dynasty really meant some- 


thing so long as a prince represented or symbolized a com- 
munity not dependent on him for its existence, as was formerly 
the case with the Teutonic dukes, and is still so with the 
English King. But when princes began making considerable 
territorial and tribal acquisitions by conquest, purchase, or 
marriage, then genuine love of country and dynastic patriot- 
ism excluded each other, and there were not a few who realized 
this. What had attachment to the Bourbons to do with the 
Spaniards', Neapolitans', or Sicilians' attachment to their 
country? How could Burgundy, Spain, and the Nether- 
lands be attached to the House of Austria, which for them 
was represented by the insignificant house of Hapsburg, of 
Swiss origin? Or what has the patriotism of the Poles, Alsa- 
tians and Danes to do with attachment to the Prusso-German 
Empire of the HohenzoUerns? 

The bonds uniting a nation together, however, are so vague 
and indefinite, and the state with its ruler and the often very 
beneficial array of officials representing it, are something so 
impressively real, that as time went on, attachment to the state 
everywhere supplanted patriotism. Indeed, histor^^ proves 
the awakening of patriotic sentiments to have always been con- 
nected with attachment to some particular ruler. 

In the eighteenth century what we now call patriotism was 
still unknown, but the Roi Soleil was looked on as the glory of 
France, and Frederick II as foreshadowing Germany's great- 
ness ; Maria Theresa was loved as representing the new unity 
of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, and even now the 
Russian peasant would have no conception of Russia were it 
not for the influence of the Orthodox Church and the idea 
of the czar as the Little Father. This state of things con- 
tinued till the great Revolution, after which the *' subject" 
gradually became more important as compared with his ruler. 
Consequently, at any rate in advanced countries, the concep- 
tion of nationhood and of a national state became more and 
more vivid and clear. Meanwhile the irresistible historical 
tendency of the nineteenth century to unite Europeans into 


national states became increasingly manifest. Yet the con- 
ception of nationhood remained only a sentiment, and no at- 
tempt was made to define it more exactly. 

§ 97. — Prusso-German and Austro-German 

Pure and unadulterated medievalism is still not defunct, 
and in Germany, to go no further, it is obvious that even in 
the nineteenth century the dynastic principle can win the 
day. After the upheavals of Napoleon's time there were in 
Germany two powerful dynasties, the HohenzoUerns and the 
Ilapsburgs. Behind both lay a long and glorious past. The 
influence of French conceptions of liberty gave rise to dreams 
of welding all territory **so far as the German tongue is 
heard" into one great nation; but this could be done only if 
one of the two dynasties were abolished. Traditional ideas, 
however, got the better of modern ones, sanguinary w^ars 
set the seal upon dismemberment. The old German Empire 
Avas turned into the country of the Hapsburgs, and beside it 
the youthful Prussia grew up into the new and vigorous Ger- 
man Empire of the HohenzoUerns. Neither country repre- 
sents any distinctly defined nation. The German Empire, 
however, aproaches thereto, inasmuch as, according to German 
statistics, it contains only nine per cent, of non-Germans 
(Poles, Frenchmen, and Danes). On the other hand, a large 
number of Germans live abroad, particularly in the Austro- 
Ilungarian monarchy, where, however, they are greatly in 
the minority. Indeed, they number only about twenty per 
cent, of the total population as compared with the Poles, Slavs, 
Magyars, and Romance nations. But in German territory 
the dynastic idea has so completely prevailed over the national 
that instead of condemning Bismarck as the ** disrupter" 
of Germany, we extol him as its "uniter." Yet he it was 
who, in the interests of Prussia, his smaller fatherland, really 
brought about the present state of things. 

If we would see Germany a great power on a national basis, 
then first of all w^e should have to liberate the millions of 


Germans who, as becomes daily more apparent, are gradu- 
ally perishing in that chaos of nations called the Hapsburg 
monarchy. That is, matters being as they are, the ancient 
dream of German unity cannot be realized save by Austria be- 
ing broken up and the German Empire annexing what is really 
German property. 

Fanciful dynastic notions, however, are so closely inter- 
woven with our national conceptions that we do not even 
perceive what a violent contradiction in terms it is that, at 
any rate according to the official explanation following on 
the ultimatum to Serbia, we should have taken up arms in 
1914, full of enthusiasm and with flying colors, for the support 
of our Austrian ally. Imagining that she was drawing her 
sword for the so-called national unity of Teutonism, Germany 
really drew it in the interests of Austria, which is composed 
of more than a dozen nations, and is an outrage on the very 
notion of race purity. 

In reality the existence of Austria is the sole obstacle to the 
constitution of a German nation wherever the German tongue 
is heard. The German, therefore, as is so often the case, 
stands in his own light by maintaining the Austrian dynasty. 
But apart from these facts, the inevitable result of this alliance 
between the protagonists of dynastic and those of national 
patriotism is that neither honestly believes his own kind of 
patriotism to be the wisest possible. Nor can any one seri- 
ously believe in the ultimate possibility of these two divergent 
kinds of patriotism being fused into one, for the very existence 
of Austria makes it impossible for Germany to develop into 
a single united nation. 

Hence we are confronted with two alternatives. Either 
Germany has once and for all abandoned the idea of becoming 
a single united nation, or else she went to war intending after- 
ward to attack and dismember her present ally.^ 

1 If such an intention exists at all, it can only be latent in the sub- 
consciousness of the nation Naturally I have no thought of even 
referring to any "mala fides." 


The inward signification of this war is the conquest of pa- 
triotism. As has so often been the case, Germany is fighting 
ag;ainst her own self, and there can be no doubt that in course 
of time the small Germanics will disappear and their place 
be taken by one great united mother-country. So long 
as the small dynasties exist, however, attachment to the newer 
and greater country will be considered treason to them. The 
patriot Jahn,^ Georg Herwegh, Freiligrath, Fritz Renter, and 
many others besides were forced into exile or imprisoned be- 
cause of their love for Germany. And even now every one 
who hopes for a united German mother-country is outlawed 
b}' Prussia and Austria, to the applause of the senseless 

The very men who talk about Germany's world-wide expan- 
sion dread her becoming united, and urge all manner of 
reasons why she should not do so. The adjunction of Austria 
would mean too many clericals in the Reichstag : the break up 
of Austria must mean that many alien nationalities would 
break away, and then Germany would be too weak from the 
military point of view. German territory as a whole is incon- 
venient from the point of view of trade, and so forth. All 
this may be true; but if so, then it simply proves that Ger- 
man national sentiment is a mere phrase, adopted whenever 
it is desired to pick holes in the Jews, Social Democrats, 
Poles, or French, but immediately thrown overboard if it 
threatens to become applicable to ourselves. Let us be frank. 
Let no one say he is a German to the core, but rather that he 
is a Prussian and a Hohenzollern to the core. 

If modem patriots talked in this wise and were not always 
confusing everything with their wrong notions of nation- 
ality, it would be possible to come to some sort of understand- 
ing with them, and readily to admit that for a nation to be in 
a sort of water-tight compartment is no longer the one thing 
worth striving for, but that beyond all doubt the conception 

1 Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, known as the " Turnvater," father of gym- 


of the state as the only true form of association is daily becom- 
ing more important. 

§ 98. — The Free Association of States 

The association to form a state is a strong and essentially 
valuable bond of union, and wherever it has been based upon 
liberty it has proved even stronger than any nationality or, as 
they are now so often called, racial bounds, stronger even than 
the ties of religion. 

In Switzerland Germans, French, Romansch, and Italians 
have united to form one free state. Every one being entitled 
to his own language, religion, and convictions, attachment 
to these is not lashed up to such a pitch as to supplant loyalty 
to the state. Moreover, the conception of the state imposes 
no fetters, but merely serves a useful purpose. Modest in its 
demands the state acquires solid power. 

Similarly in the United States there dwell a medley of 
associated nations, Germans and Russians, Poles and Magyars, 
Italians and Englishmen, Irish and Balkan subjects, all living 
peacefully together and beginning to unite together to form 
a new race. In this case a medley of nations is strong and 
can maintain itself, whereas in Austria, held together as she 
is by force, it spells disaster. Furthermore, a new patriotism, 
American patriotism, is being formed, for, like everything else, 
patriotism cannot exist unless it be based on moral sentiment ; 
in other words, on free will and free determination. 

The British Empire, of which the conquered Boers have 
become absolutely loyal^ citizens in an incredibly short time, 
likewise seems to be standing the test. The Boers, after all, 
remain Boers. Not a word is said about the necessity of 
everything in the British Empire being English; it is recog- 
nized that the empire is merely a bond of union. '• 

Both the German and Austrian empires also exist merely 
for a purpose, but we make the mistake of endeavoring to de- 
lude ourselves and others into believing that the German Em- 
pire is a national state, which of course annoys a great many 


over whom the black, white, and red banner floats, since they 
neither can nor will become Germans by nationality, but would 
undoubtedly be excellent members of a German union. 

Whenever an empire puts forth no extravagant claims, such 
as to be a sort of center to which enforced sympathies must 
gravitate, then it is far easier to see how far it can help to cen- 
tralize material interests. Unfortunately, however, every one 
who disapproves of certain institutions, especially those to 
which the rulers for the time being attach importance, is 
called an enemy of the empire; and thus every one who really 
thinks for himself is tempted to regret being a member of that 
empire. All great imperial conceptions, indeed, originated 
with the opposition parties. Germany now prides herself 
upon her social legislation, and indeed we owe it to applied 
state socialism that our economic life goes on smoothly even 
during the war. But time was when Liberals and Socialists 
alike were the country's enemies. The opposition will not and 
cannot demand that its advice should be followed, for then 
it would cease to deserve its name; but it is justified in in- 
sisting on being heard and on its opinions, like every one 
else's, being respected. 

To-day there are also some whose views of the war differ 
from those of the majority, and who believe that it would 
not be for Germany's good to win a victory. It is of course 
their duty to do whatever work their fellow-citizens in the 
majority demand of them ; but equally of course they are en- 
titled, indeed, they are bound, to remain true to their convic- 
tions. In 1850 King Frederick William IV actually said to 
the British envoy that he considered it the greatest blessing 
that a victory of Prussia over Austria had then been avoided, 
for, he added, in view of Austria's internal dissensions this 
would have been inevitable. Similarly every citizen of the 
country should now be allowed to say what he considers most 
in the interests of its greatness. Patriotism, in short, should 
be a moral sentiment, and this is possible only in a state of 



§ 99.— The ProUem of Race 

The obstacle to us Europeans developing this free patriot- 
ism at present is the so-called race patriotism of the small 
European countries. This has become far too petty for mod- 
ern world politics, and, after all, it has nothing whatever to do 
with race. Now, this question of race is one of the most melan- 
choly chapters in the history of human knowledge. Con- 
sciously or unconsciously, knowledge, supposed to be impartial, 
has never placed itself so unconditionally in the service of am- 
bitious and self-seeking politicians as in this race question. 
Indeed, it might almost be said that the various theories of 
race have really never been put forward except with the object 
of advancing some claim or other. The writings of Houston 
Stewart Chamberlain, an Anglo-German, afford perhaps the 
most distressing example of this. 

As we all know, this author has been endeavoring to claim 
every eminent man throughout the history of the world, Christ 
and Dante included, for the Teutonic race. It may seem sur- 
prising that other demagogic representatives of other races 
did not make a similar attempt, and that they did not is a 
testimony to the good sense of foreign men of science. The 
French anthropologist, Paul Souday, on the other hand, re- 
cently endeavored to prove that probably all Germany's 
eminent men are of Celtic origin ; and as a matter of fact South 
Germany, to which most of them belong, was originally a 
Celtic country, while the foreign origin of some of the few 
eminent North Germans can be proved. Thus Nietzsche was 
a Slav, and Kant's family emigrated from Scotland. It is 
worth while to refer to a French edition of Houston Stewart 
Chamberlain such as Paul Souday, for it may perhaps make 
even deluded neutrals realize the worthlessness of such argu- 
ments. But most Germans hold some such views as this. 
True, they say that they feel as German patriots ought to 


feel, just because they are Germans; but in reality they be- 
lieve in a German race because they think it their patriotic 
duty to do so. Now, if we consider the foundations on which 
these race theories are based, we shall see that they are very 
slender. They are, first, that in general it is not proved that 
a pure race is superior to a mixed one, and, secondly, that it is 
impossible exactly to define what a human race is. 

§ 100.— The Value of Race Purity 

A pedigree dog is said to be worth more than a mongrel, 
and this probably explains the strange view that a human 
being of pure race is worth more than one of mixed race. 
In the case of dogs, and to a less extent in that of other 
domestic animals, this can be understood; for man originally 
selected for breeding such dogs as he liked or as were useful 
to him. Thus he bred a small, long-bodied race, with crooked 
legs suited for scratching holes in the ground, a dog spirited, 
strong, and rapacious, the Dachshund, which he used for hunt- 
ing animals living in holes or caves. Then he bred another 
kind, tall and slender, with long legs, the greyhound, to hunt 
hares for him ; and similarly he has bred vigilant Pomeranians, 
sharp-nosed setters, bloodhounds, and so on till we come to 
life-saving St. Bernards. 

Now, each of these kinds has its own peculiar qualities, and 
in other respects its capacities have become quite deadened. 
Thus the greyhound cannot smell, and bulldogs are inclined 
to bite. In short, a biologist would say that these pure-bred 
dogs were by no means particularly well equipped for life; 
but man will have them so, and therefore he attaches less 
value to cross breeds, in which the special characteristics of 
particular kinds of dogs of course vanish. The proof that, 
from the purely biological point of view, pedigree dogs are 
inferior is simply that the most highly bred usually die out 
before long. Thus St. Bernards survived only for four gener- 
ations, and there are no longer any absolutely pure-bred 
pug-dogs ; but to atone for this, new pedigree kinds are con- 


stantly appearing. It is certainly remarkable that police 
dogs, which from the nature of their employment must be 
highly trained, are not called *' pedigree dogs." Such dogs, 
in short, are useless except for some special purpose, and as 
only dogs are used for so many purposes quite foreign to their 
nature, it is chiefly in their case that purity of race is greatly 
insisted upon. 

In the case of all other domestic animals, whether horses, 
cows, goats, pigs, or what not, skilful crossing, or what breed- 
ers call improving the breed, is considered of more importance 
than anything else; and whenever a particular Iweed is bred 
comparatively true, new blood must be from time to time in- 
troduced into it. The sole exceptions to this rule are race- 
horses, which are kept for sport only, and a few fancy breeds 
of pigeons; but for work none but half-blood horses can be 
used. German horse-breeders, moreover, have had to pay 
dearly for having acted on the suggestion of Bruce Low, and 
for a time bought none but pedigree horses. It must not be 
forgotten also that the strain of English pure-blood pedi- 
gree horses has not been known for more than two hundred 
years at the outside, and therefore is still comparatively 

Thus in the animal kingdom we find scarcely any warrant 
for the assertion that people of unmixed race are superior to 
others, and in mankind no warrant whatever for it, since there 
are absolutely no pure-bred races, with the possible exception 
of a few peoples on a very low level. Europe, at all events, 
is an absolute national medley, and any one who does not 
consider the Jews the flower of the human race should not 
make such foolish assertions as that concerning the superior- 
ity of unmixed races. 

Suppose now that it is asserted that although nations owed 
their origin to crossing, yet in course of time a uniform race is 
formed from these crossings, and that these ancient races are 
superior to more recent conglomerate races. Even this 
would not be true. On. the contrary, it is a remarkable fact 


that the legends of all peoples which have attained greatness 
tell of their having entered their countries as conquerors. 
Doubtless this is a reminiscence of another fact of which his- 
tory affords repeated confirmation — that powerful nations 
which leave their impress on the world always arise just where 
two national migrations came into collision, and a new young 
empire resulted. This is also true of the ancient empires 
of the East. But — ^not to depart from Europe — Hellas and 
Rome arose out of that great migration which we describe as 
the Doric migration and the Greek colonization of the Mediter- 
ranean, The Roman Empire was, moreover, very closely con- 
nected with the Etruscan migrations.^ Again, the German 
medieval empire took its rise from the onslaughts of popular 
migration. It was Arab invasions which, in Spain (and 
therefore in a foreign land) gave rise to that Arab empire 
which was in every respect the most important; and subse- 
quently the Spanish Empire arose. The Norman invasions of 
France and England in the tenth century gave the impetus to 
the greatness of both these countries. Prussia arose precisely 
where there was the greatest blending of Teutons, advancing 
from the tenth to the twelfth centuries over the Eastern 
marches, with the conquered Slavs. 

Quite possibly everything must not be set down to mixture 
of blood, but something to dormant energies being aroused. 
The foregoing brief historical summary, however, suffices to 
disprove older races having in any way the advantage. 
Those who urge that all these instances are taken from an- 
cient history, may be referred to the unexampled progress of 
the United States. Here we see actually before us the rise 
of a young, vigorous nation composed of the leavings of old 
Europe, sometimes inferior leavings, with a dash of negro and 
Indian blood, which, though slight, nevertheless cannot be ig- 
nored. Here is a nation which might well be called New Eu- 
rope. Now many, it is true, will say that, though America 

1 Mommsen's opinion differed radically from this, but will not stand 
the test of modem research. 


has progressed, she has not done so in the right way; but 
probably such things have always been said by those over 
whom the wheel of blooming civilizations has passed. 

§ 101. — Historical and Linguistic Races 

It is by no. means too much to say, therefore, that there is 
nothing to prove the superiority of a pure human race over 
a mixed one, and that this is not even probable. 

Now, as regards the differentiation of the various races, 
the unfortunate thing is that we have no absolute criterion 
for the definition of a race. All manner of expedients have 
therefore been resorted to. Thus an attempt has been made 
by historical investigators to separate human beings into com- 
munities having a like origin or into groups speaking cognate 
languages, and to classify them according to various similari- 
ties or differences of civilization; and finally an endeavor 
has been made to base a definition of race on physical char- 
acteristics. There is some justification for all these attempts, 
and all appear to be successful so long as we confine ourselves 
to the one special line of investigation. But unfortunately 
these diversely formed national groups do not coincide. 

There are peoples, whose existence is historically attested, 
such as the Teutons of the migratory period, whose descen- 
dants might be sought in Italy, Africa, Spain, and Bj^zantium. 
Again, there are linguistically allied races, for instance, the 
*' Germans," to which not only Teutons, Slavs, and Celts, but 
even negroes and Mongols belong. Finally, there are anthro- 
pological races, for instance, the long-headed North European 
type, who chiefly live around the Baltic and the North Sea 
(except Pomerania, West Prussia, and Finland). 

Now, as nobody knows what is really the proper method of 
classifying races, every one can select whichever best suits his 
own particular inclinations ; and what is worse, and what has 
led to hopeless confusion, is that every one who has pegged out 
a ** nation" in accordance with one set of characteristics only 
tries to make all other characteristics conform thereto. Thus 


some persons have attempted to find the same specific charac- 
teristics prevailing over the whole territory formerly subject 
to the inroads of national migrations, while others have tried 
to prove all German-speaking or all Slav-language territory 
to be inhabited by one single race, and even to consider the 
Jews or the Teutons as all belonging to one type of civilization 
only. All these attempts show but too plainly the cloven foot 
of partiality. 

Historical research in particular has been misapplied, and 
extravagant claims made in its name. The Italian believes in 
an Italian people extending as far as the sound of Roman leg- 
ionaries' footsteps were once heard, or, as they prefer to put 
it now, as far as the Lion of St. ^Mark's once roared. The Ger- 
mans would fain claim for themselves all territory over which 
the hosts of the migratory period once passed. The French 
Napoleonic Empire alone is still historically too young to have 
any traditional justification for its claims. These need not be 
expected for a few centuries to come; that is, unless in the 
interval the world becomes wiser. 

Now, as regards the question of race, historical research 
may be left absolutely out of account. Suppose that in a 
territory inhabited by millions of people only one single person 
of foreign race has survived or immigrated. Now, if this 
solitary person has characteristics such as are invariably trans- 
mitted in case of his crossing with another race, then, owing 
to continuous crossing, in a few hundred years the entire 
population would possess these characteristics. 

In order to realize this, we must consider that, allowing four 
children to a generation, a single human being has in the fifth 
generation — that is, after 125 years — one thousand descen- 
dants ; ^ after 250 years this number has increased to a million, 
and after 375 years the number of his descendants would 
equal that of all living human beings.^ The historical fact 

1 After 25 years, 4; after 50 years, 16; after 75 years, 64; after 100 
years, 256; after 125 years, 1024 descendants. 

2 In the case of physically vigorous national elements it is scarcely 
too much to allow four children. But allowing only 3 children, a 


that at any given time a nation was racially pure and has not 
since received any considerable infusion of foreign blood is 
therefore of comparatively small importance. 

Linguistic researches have likewise led to no definite results, 
for we know that it may happen that nations, almost to a man, 
adopt a new language in a short time. Thus the Slavs in the 
East Elbe provinces almost all speak German well, and, it 
might be added, feel quite German. The Bulgarians, origin- 
ally a blend of Turk and Tatar, have become so much im- 
pregnated with Slav civilization and the Slav language as to 
forget all about their origin ; while Slavs who have emigrated 
to Greece have become just like Greeks. The Goths in Spain 
and Lombardy likewise soon absolutely forgot their Teutonic 
origin. Any number of like instances could be adduced. 
IMoreover, all other civilized institutions can be shown to have 
altered even more rapidly than language. 

§ 102. — Physical Racial Characteristics 

The physical characteristics of animals are studied almost 
solely with the object of classifying them into species. In 
the case of man it is also the only method of attaining any 
practical results, and it has proved a reliable method of 
dividing the great human races into white and black, yellow 
and red. In the demarcation of the small European sub-spe- 
cies frequently described as races it has, on the whole, not an- 
swered, and for the following reasons : 

1. — These peoples probably never were genuine species. 
They had not time to develop so much because they did not 
split off from the so-called Indo-Germanic race until a com- 
paratively late period. 

2. — A great hindrance to investigation is that it is i:iot known 
whether the original inhabitants of Europe, the race whom 
the immigrants encountered, were homogeneous or not. This 

billion is reached in 19 generations (475 years). Allowing? 2 children 
it would be reached in 30 generations, or 750 years; that is, not even 
then in such a very long time. 


point, however, will be gradually cleared up when we become 
better acquainted with prehistoric discoveries. 

3. — ]\Iost important of all is the fact that, in historic times, 
there has been so much crossing and recrossing that no one 
need expect to lind more than the ruins of any particular 
nation anywhere. Rome's legions penetrated as far as the 
Pontus, to Ultima Thule, and Heaven knows where besides; 
and what is more, they founded numerous colonies, to which 
the altogether Roman names of Rhenish cities and the Roman 
cast of countenance frequently noticeable in Rhineland girls 
afford eloquent testimony. 

Again, before the migrations, some inexplicable impulse to- 
ward expansion drove Cimbrian migratory tribes far south- 
ward. Then came the period when the Teutons as Roman 
mercenaries encircled the known world, until finally they be- 
came independent nations, and as such took part in the 
migrations which overwhelmed all Europe. These migra- 
tions have not yet ceased, especially in eastern central Europe, 
between the fifteenth and thirteenth parallel of longitude, 
that is, in the Balkan regions and in the quadrangle erected 
upon them, including the corners of Stettin, Triest, Petro- 
grad, and Constantinople. The Courland and Siebenbiirgen 
Germans in Slav and Rumanian territory, the Sezkler Magyars 
in Rumanian territory, and the Wends and Czechs in German 
territory may be cited in proof of what I say. 

But war and peace brought about many changes besides 
these. All the nations of Europe and the surrounding ter- 
ritory, Mongols, Moors, Finns, and Magyars- included, fought 
battles, particularly in Germany. Frequ-ently, however, espe- 
cially in the case of Spaniards, Frenchmen, Swedes, and Poles, 
troops were garrisoned in Germany, often for a long time, or 
else German and Swiss mercenaries were garrisoned all about 
the world, leaving descendants behind them, sometimes forci- 
bly begotten, sometimes not. 

Besides this, religious and commercial persecution caused 
people to emigrate to freer or more enlightened countries. 


The refugees in Ansbaeh and Brandenburg, the Palatinate 
and Holland, and the Salzburg people in East Prussia, Den- 
mark, and Sweden are instances of religious colonization ; the 
Italians in Germany and the Poles in the Rhine country and 
Westphalia, of commercial colonization. 

Besides the historical difficulties of sorting out the different 
races, there is another difficulty, this time biological. For 
example, the examination of skulls is in itself an absolutely 
reliable method of race classification, except that we do not 
know whether the characteristics of skulls, like other physical 
peculiarities, are variable, and if so, why they vary. Thus if 
by means of skulls found and statistics it is easy to prove that 
in Germany the round-headed (or brunette) type is grad- 
ually increasing, or if in America a certain Indian type has 
lately somewhat frequently occurred among the whites, we 
still do not know, or at any rate we cannot ascertain from 
skulls, why this is so. Is it because a certain portion of the 
population, originally in the minority, but possessed of char- 
acteristics which are always transmissible, is gradually forc- 
ing its way to the front? Has it to do with the signs of adap- 
tation to certain outward conditions at present unknown to us ? 
Or is the increase due to unsuspected immigration ? 

In the face of these difficulties it might justl}^ be said that, 
were ethnology to demonstrate the racial purity of the people, 
this would be convincing proof of its worthlessness. In real- 
ity, however, recent investigations have made an end of all 
such racial purity. Whereas most nations used to pride them- 
selves on being of racially pure origin, tracing their descent 
usually to a god or demigod, or at any rate to some famous 
hero, to-day it is probably only the Russians and Germans who 
passionately lay claim to racial purity. Or, rather, it is 
claimed by a limited part of both these nations, and one taken 
far too seriously by' both, — ^the Panslavists and Pan-German- 
ists and their scientific protagonists. 

As for the Russians, they, like the Scandinavians, have re- 
mained fairly isolated in their Eastern seclusion; and it is a 


fact that in Scandinavia the north European type (the Teu- 
tons) and in Russia the East European type have remained 

§ 103. — The Mixture of Races in Germany 

To claim race purity for Germany, where all European types 
come in contact with one another as in a melting-pot, is ab- 
solutely preposterous. Perhaps she owes her cosmopolitan ca- 
pacity for understanding ''the voices of the nations" better 
than do other nations to this very circumstance that in her 
the descendants of all European nations live. At any rate, 
there is more justification for such a contention than for 
asserting that every racial conglomeration — what Houston 
Stewart Chamberlain would call a chaos of nations — must nec- 
essarily be inferior. 

It matters not, however, whether the results of this mix- 
ture of races be good or bad. We have to put up with it, 
since there is no doubt about the fact. But as Chamberlain 's 
bulky volume is very much read in Germany, and as this un- 
justifiable race pride is one of the worst evils of modern Ger- 
many, I do not wish to pass it over in absolute silence. More- 
over, its false, but seductive, reasoning is or appears to aim at 
proving that the Teutonic race is a pure race. 

All race theorists assume that among mensurable physical 
attributes the most important ethnologically are the formation 
of the skull, the color of the hair and skin, and the dimensions 
of the body. Now, the German anthropologist Deniker,^ bas- 
ing his conclusions on principal external attributes, has at- 
tempted to explain the present race distribution in Europe by 
the measurements of school-children and recruits, of which in 
some cases there are a great many. He assumes the existence 
of ten races altogether, including six main races; and shows 
how they are distributed quite indiscriminately, without re- 
gard to language or frontier delimitation, over the whole 

1 "Bulletin de la Soci^t^ d'Anthropologie de Paris." Tome VIII, 4me 
S6rie, pp, 189 and 291. 


European continent. Certain races, however, seem chiefly to 
be found in districts bordering on the sea. Thus the Teutons 
mainly live around the Baltic and the Irish Sea. 

The results of these investigations, which may be found 
in a valuable work by the German anthropologist Hirt, are of 
interest to all European nations. I shall refer to them, how- 
ever, only in so far as they relate to Germany, and then only 
so far as the district within the boundaries of the present 
German Empire is concerned. As for the complete racial mix- 
ture of Austria, no one would probably question this. The 
map on the opposite page gives an approximate idea of con- 
ditions as they actually are. The colored portions represent 
districts where one of the ten European races to some extent 
preponderates; the white portions indicate territory where 
there is a heterogeneous mixture of races. [Diagram between 
pp. 242 and 243.] 

This diagram can be comparatively easily brought into line 
with ascertained historical facts. The ancient Teutons (red) 
were settled about the Baltic, whence they advanced into other 
countries. In so doing they encountered Celts (yellow) in 
South Germany, and Slavs (blue) toward the southeast. As 
for the Slavs, who still predominate greatly in Posen and 
Silesia, they have also occasionally made considerable ad- 
vances, particularly toward the sea. It is easy to understand 
this advance seaward, and it accounts for the fact that in 
Pomerania and Westphalia the Teutonic elements have now 
no longer the upper hand, as they had originally. The Teu- 
tons mostly passed through South Germany, and then before 
long utterly perished in the far South, whicfe was obviously 
unsuited to them. Consequently the Celtic race has remained 
comparatively pure in Baden and Wiirtemberg (South Ger- 
many), while elsewhere it is apparent that there has been an 
immigration of the Adriatic races (green) as a result of Ro- 
man rule and of the round-headed **homo alpinus/' Ap- 
parently the Romans found the kind of life here to their 
taste. Most of central Germany, however, is peopled by a 


mixture of races, or, as Houston Stewart Chamberlain neatly 
phrases it, by a national chaos. "Wilser * bears out this fact 
when he says, ** Scarcely one in a hundred of our fellow- 
countrymen to-day has a type of skull or framework like the 
skeletons found in the rows of graves of the migration pe- 
riod." Elsewhere he says, *'If to-day wc would discover 
true Teutons, we must go to our Northern sister nations — to 
Sweden, the Netherlands, and England." 

§ 104. — Germans and Teutons 

We call German those common characteristics and traits 
which have arisen out of this mixture of races by reason of a 
common language and civilization. We call Teutonic those 
original and primary qualities which were inherent in a peo- 
ple of unknown origin. This people is to-day so intermingled 
with other peoples that, at least in Germany, it no longer 

Germany consequently is a civilized state built up on the 
basis of a common speech. It is not a national state ^ built 
up on a common race. The identification of Germans with 
Teutons is entirely misleading. It is true that this new com- 
plex of peoples has taken its most important formative element, 
its language, essentially from its Teutonic element. The Ger- 
man is therefore justified in designating himself as the spirit- 
ual descendant of this people. But this very fact shows how 
much more important civilization is than race. 

1 "Rassen und Viilker" ("Races and Peoples"), by Ludwig Wilser, 
1912. Theodor Thoma: Leipsic. 

2 A civilized state and a national state are not antitheses. The word 
"national" does not fundamentally imply merely a racial affiliation. 
The words "people" and "nation" no lonjjer retain a clearly defined 
meaning, because intentionally and unintentionally their distinguishing 
characteristics have l)een confused. It would easily be possible to define 
these words; others have done so. This seems superfluous, not to say 
harmful, to me. The fact that no one really knows what a people and 
what a nation is, proves more conclusively than any words that peoples 
and nations are no longer definite realities. There is no such confusion 
about the conception of state. From this conception the future develop- 
ment will take its departure. 


It is difficult to see how men like Chamberlain have arrived 
at their conclusions. In the case of Chamberlain, in particu- 
lar, I believe that he often writes things of the correctness 
of which he himself is not convinced. For instance, for the 
fantastic statement, *'that the Goths in large numbers have 
accepted Judaism," he gives as his authority "a learned 
specialist of the University of Vienna, ' ' but he does not give 
his name.^ Again he quotes letters,^ which he claims to have 
received, and their contents supplement one another in an 
extraordinary fashion. The impartial, critical reader cannot 
help but feel that in such cases the author was more interested 
in giving a pleasing artistic form to his work than in facts 
themselves. It might have been preferable, if, like his great 
master, Gobineau, he had chosen a purely fictional form of 

It is also possible that the entire Pan-German theory de- 
pends upon nothing more than a most regrettable misunder- 
standing. The claim is made that the various European na- 
tions have resulted from a mixture of the original primitive 
inhabitants with the Teutons who overran them during the 
later migrations. In Germany, on the other hand, Teutons 
were merely mixed with Teutons, and that thus the race here 
remained pure. 

In fact, however, skeletons and other remains show con- 
clusively that there was a race of primitive inhabitants in 
Germany as well, going back as far as the diluvial period. 
At the time of the Cimric invasion and later, when the stream 
of the Teutonic migrations burst upon them, this population 
partly emigrated, or at least withdrew into the mountainous 
regions, partly perished, and partly mingled with the new- 
comers. A primitive population dwelt here as well as in the 
other European countries at a time when the rhinoceros and 

iH. St. Chamberlain's "Die Grundlagen des 19 Jahrhunderts" ("The 
Foundations of the Nineteenth Century") : Munich, 1904, 5th Edition, 
vol II, p. 104. 

2lhid. (1915), "Neue Kriegsaufsatze" ("New Essays on the War"), 
pp. 17, 18. 


the elephant. still roamed through Europe. A mixture of these 
primitive inhabitants and Celts seems to have lived along the 
Rhine at the time when the Romans arrived. However dear 
Scheffel's old song, '*Es wohnten die alten Germanen zu bei- 
den Seiten des Rheins'' ("The ancient Germans lived on both 
sides of the Rhine"), may be to us, it is not a fact. Ariovistus 
racially was not a Teuton, but a Celt. If at that time any one 
lived on both sides of the Rhine, it was the Celts. But 
Tacitus called these people Germani, and this name was later 
applied to the tribes which broke forth from the region in 
which Ariovistus had lived. They were Ostrogoths, Visigoths, 
Vandals, etc. The error dates from that time. The Germani 
of Tacitus and those of the Teutonic migrations are some- 
thing quite distinct. For a long time no one definitely knew 
what the Germans were. Even as late as the twelfth and thir- 
teenth centuries the French were the more likely to be called 

In the meantime another name arose. In France a dis- 
tinction had been made at an early period between the lingua 
romana rustica in the West and the lingua theodosica in the 
East (that is, in Germany). These words designated a lan- 
guage only and not a people, just as to-day, when we say 
some one speaks High German, we do not mean to imply that 
he belongs to a definite racial division. 

Later in the eleventh centurj^ the substantive Teuton ^ was 
formed from theodisk, which was used only as an adjective, 
merely resembling the other in sound, but in no wise related 
to it. 

This word denoted from the very beginning a cultural 
and linguistic, not a racial, relation. The absurd legend of 
the giant Theuto, as the common ancestor of all Teutons, in- 

iJoh. Kinnamos {circa 1200) I, II, c. 15, 18 (ed. Meineehe: Bonn, 
1836, p. 77 and 84) calls the Germans "Allemanni" and the French 

2 Miillerhof and many others with him regard the term Teutonic as a 
Celtic word. 


vestigation has shown was not invented until the thirteenth 

This linguistic division accords with the fact that a transi- 
tion had taken place in the mean time. The Teutonic hordes 
had become inhabitants of German territory. The Teutons, 
Celts, and Slavs were German in so far as they spoke the 
German language. In this way the German nation was 
founded; but we cannot reiterate it often enough that the 
element of race had nothing to do with it. 

The facts to which attention is here called are in no way 
complex ; they are accepted as established by the unprejudiced. 
The difficulty for ordinary readers arises through the con- 
tinual confusion of Teutons with Germans. For instance, 
Ratzel ^ in his popular work states, * ' There was a time when 
the greater part of our country was not inhabited by Ger- 
mans ' ^ ; and again, * ' it is historically established that southern 
and western Germany were not inhabited by Germans when 
the Romans first penetrated into those regions. ' ' Despite this, 
he maintains that the people described by Tacitus must have 
been Teutons. Of course, Ratzels conception of **Germania'* 
is broader than * * German, ' ' but no matter how comprehensive 
the term, even Ratzel would hardly include the Celts among 
the Teutons. Conflicting statements like these, however, 
simplify things only for writers like Chamberlain. 

§ 105. — The European Bace 

In a broad general way there are no pure races in Europe, 
no true species in the zoological sense, not even constant varie- 

The only question that may arise is whether there is a 
** European race," which can be distinguished from the Asiatic 
Mongols, the African negroes, the Australasians, and the 
American Indians. Even this would hardly be the case if 
race meant to us some clearly defined or even zoological con- 

iFr. Ratzel, "Deutschland" ("Germany"), p. 273, 


ception. The old traditional division according to geographi- 
cal regions is to-day discredited. It was easy to show that the 
actual relations were often dependent upon something quite 
different. The unfortunate term, * * Indo-Germanic peoples," 
was largely responsible for this, for this term was based not 
upon race, but upon language. Linguistic relationship has 
been made the keystone of the problem of race. Without 
wishing to underestimate the scientific importance of this re- 
lation, we must nevertheless confess that it has caused a 
complete shift in the meaning of the word * * race. ' ' 

It may be true, and probably is, that pure races no longer 
inhabit definite regions of the world. But by a geographical 
arrangement we may at any rate obtain human groups which 
in a broad general way have certain relatively uniform char- 
acteristics in their history, civilization, language, and physical 
attributes that differentiate them fairly sharply from other 

The concept, a people, a nation, a group of peoples, and 
even that of a race, depends not only upon a common origin, 
but also upon common language, civilization, morals, and 
habits of life. It would be absurd to exclude, for instance, 
the Finns and Hungarians, the Welsh and Basques, the Prus- 
sians and Mechlenburgians, from the community of Europe 
simply because they unquestionably are racially distinct from 
the other Europeans. No German would ever think of regard- 
ing the Mechlenburgians and Prussians as anything else but 
Germans, and of stressing his relationship to the Hindus. 

There is no such thing as a patriotism based upon racial 
descent. Just because it is vague and indefinite, extrava- 
gant claims are made for it. They are usually grotes(iue and 
irritating in effect. It is likewise impossible to establish 
German patriotism on a racial basis. But if we say that the 
German peoples have been welded into a new unity by their 
common civilization, we are within the range of possibility 
and fact. But more of this will be said in the next section. 


There is one thing to which I wish to call attention. Since 
Germans have no common ethnological origin, Germanism is 
not an inherited possession. A common civilization has to 
be won and secured anew every day. It is well that this is so. 


§ 106. — The Multiplicity of Combinations 

The national and racial kinships which we have so far 
considered constitute only two forms of an infinite number of 
possible combinations. 

The combination of human beings into larger groups can 
as a matter of fact take place on the basis of innumerable 
common interests. Religion and art, science and occupation, 
similar predilections, and similar antipathies, divide human- 
ity into larger or smaller circles. These circles will never 
entirely correspond ; on the contrary, they frequently intersect. 
For instance, a man may feel a kinship with a thousand other 
men through the bond of his religion, with other thousands 
through the bonds of a common belief in art or interest in 
sports, or merely through a common occupation. Fig. 7 shows 
how numerous such combinations may be. Germans and 
French and Catholics and Evangelicals are each represented 
by a circle. The overlapping parts of circles show the num- 
ber of separate combinations resulting from this pair of op- 
posites. It is furthermore assumed that there are only bonds 
between Germans and French (Lorrainers), but not between 
Catholics and Evangelicals; consequently, four groups are 
excluded : the Catholic-Evangelical Germans, French, Lorrain- 
ers, and other human beings. 

The term in the second column indicates the concept that 
j might result. This term does not fully comprehend the con- 
cepts proper, formed solely out of the two opposites. There 
are many additional circles representing nuances, and the 
number of possible combinations rises very rapidly, as fol- 
lows : 


1 pair of opposites results in 5 possibilities 

2 it a a (( « 25 *^ 
q « « (( It li QO ii 

A U it li ti li 055 y It 

5 " " " " " 1023 " , etc. 

Let us consider some of the applications according to which 
people in Germany may be grouped. There are those who 
speak German, Polish, French, or Danish; there are Catholics 
and Protestants, Jews, and dissenters, nationalists and cos- 
mopolitans, materialists and idealists, employees and employ- 
ers, professional men, state officials, conservatives, and liberals, 
social democrats and non-voters, and those who have artistic, 
scientific, technical, or philosophical tastes. These are only 
a few of the fundamental applications, but they allow for a 
vast number of possible combinations. Accurately worked 
out, t^iere are 16,770,215, and in this list many determining 
factors have been omitted, such as whether a man is a col- 
lector or sportsman, a vegetarian or prohibitionist, or any 
other **ist." 

However great the diversity when it comes to the issue of 
one's country, each one is supposed to be cut to the same 
measure. We are supposed to shed everything that gives indi- 
vidual distinction to a human being. The abstract ** average 
German" alone is supposed to remain. He is represented by a 
circle which in itself has perhaps the smallest actual contents. 
It seems important only because for a multitude of people it 
serves as a substitute for many other circles. 

Kiimelin ^ feels this conflict. He indicates the different 
relations, and then continues: "One motive may draw us to 
one circle, another to a different one. . . . But we feel and re- 
gret every such division and incompleteness of our mood. 
There is always a silent yearning for a full and complete 
community of life.'* But he fails to offer a solution when 
he demands that human beings shall renounce their individual 

1 Rtimelin, "Uber den llegriff des Volkes" ("On the Conception of 
reoplc"). "AufsUtze" ("EbBays"), I., p. 103. 


desires and attach themselves to the fatherland as the '* cen- 
tral group which embraces all objects of life.'* The present 
form of fatherland, essentially built up by historical force, 
no longer satisfies the claims of free men. A fatherland must 
be a living organism, capable of change. It must represent, 
as Eduard Meyer ^ once said, **A conscious, active, and crea- 
tive will.*' For this reason a nation which we can respect 
must be reconstructed day by day by the plebiscites of a 
free people.^ 

Each human being is an individuality; no two are exactly 
alike. More is required than mere co-citizenship in one and 
the same state. 

* ' Even in our fatherland we must have the power of choice, 
though our sympathies should lie on the other side of the 
frontier. ' ' ^ 

A human being ceases to be a human being — that is, a per- 
sonality — ^when he has to praise his country simply because it 
is his country. 

. § 107. — States within a State 

A Goethe student — I think it was Bielschowsky — once justly 
said that every one who has read Goethe has become in part 
German. So, too, every one who loves Beethoven's music, 
who has studied Kant's philosophy, or who admires Robert 
Koch's technic, is in part German, even if he does not know 
the work of these men directly, but merely follows the paths 
which they have laid out. It is just as much true that who- 
ever admires Shakspere, Newton, or Darwin is in part Eng- 
lish, and he is part Russian who puts high store on Tolstoy, 
Pawlow, or even the Russian folk-song. Whoever has been 

1 Eduard Meyer, "Die Anf Snge des Staates" ( "The Beginnings of the 

2 Ernest Renan, "L'existence d'une nation est un plebiscite de tons des 
jours." ("Q'est-ce gu'une nation," p. 27.) 

3 Arnold Ruge, "Zwei Jahre in Paris, Studien und Erinnerungen" 
("Two Years in Paris, Studies and Recollections"), vol. II., p. 221. 
Jurany: Leipsic. 


brought up on Homer, or, as was frequently the case during 
the Middle Ages, on Aristotle, or more recently on Plato, is 
a Hellene. AVhoever believes in the liberty which resulted 
from the French Revolution is French. Our admiration for 
Dante or the Cinquecento makes us^to a degree Italian, and 
Cervantes beguiles us to become Spanish. 

The nationality of a civilized human being is very diverse. 
Richard Dehmel was quite correct when he once said that 
he owed his little bit of brains to ten nations. Each human 
being is his own world. The more highly cultivated, the 
more differentiated two human beings, the more difficult it is 
for one to say to the other unreservedly, ^'You, too, are of 
my world/' Great men especially feel the weight of the lone- 
liness which results from their exceptional endowments. Is 
there any one who has not felt the resignation of Schubert's 
song, *'The folk that my tongue speaks, the distant folk, I 
find it not, ' ' at moments when music has borne him above the 
level of every day, or who has not applied to himself Schiller 's 
phrase, "I, too, was born in Arcady." 

This sum-total of civilization is too individualistic to have 
been able to serve as the foundation for states. Certain par- 
ticular elements were selected. There is no common heritage 
of present-day civilization which has not at some period in his- 
tory served as an element in the formation of states. 

The nations of Islam owe much to their common religion. 
The contrasts and similarities resulting from it are still an 
important political factor in the near East. The Christian 
Church also at first tended strongly in this direction. It an- 
nounced the communion of saints and the kingdom of God 
upon earth. The latter was surely conceived as a religious 
state. It failed, perhaps, for the very reason that its aims 
were in advance of their time, and in that it sought the broth- 
erhood of all men. Indeed, at the time of the crusades there 
was the beginning of a homogeneous Christian Europe. The 
Thirty Years' War, on the contrary, showed that Christianity 
was not adapted to be the groundwork of a single unified state. 


During the period of the Reformation diversity in religion 
was, nevertheless, sometimes a more powerful motive than 
diversity of state or nation. Swiss Catholics fought on the 
side of Spain, and French Huguenots on the side of England. 
To-day religion plays usually only a subordinate part. In 
countries like Poland, Alsace, the Trentino, and the Baltic 
Provinces, where the nationalities are mixed, it is quite true 
that the priest employs religious enthusiasm for national ends, 
but the importance of such efforts should not be overestimated. 

This has again been shown in Italy. The hopes based on 
the old conflict between the Clericals and the House of 
Savoy, which were fostered especially by Erzberger, failed 
completely. Even intransigent cardinals like Ferrari have 
prayers said in the churches for an Italian victory. The jihad 
also was a blow into the blue. This holy war, of the fright- 
fulness of which people have been telling marvelous tales for 
decades, appears not even to have lured a single dog from be- 
hind the stove. It seems as if the utmost possible fanaticism 
was for the time being concentrated among the civilized 
nations of Europe. 

During the Middle Ages the groupings according to occupa- 
tion or trades played an important role. The gilds and 
crafts were efforts that extended far beyond the boundaries of 
individual states. They formed siiyultaneously a state within 
a state or between different states. A genuine tendency 
toward the formation of a state occurred in the Ilanseatic 
League, the league of the Rhenish cities, and the peasant 
movements. Whether the international endeavors of the pro- 
letariat will lead to further developments is questionable. 
The occupational instinct was completely vanquished by the 
national instincts at the outbreak of the War in 1914. 

That the various castes form states within a state or be- 
tween the different states is well known. So the church is in- 
ternational, and so are the proletariat, the nobility, and the rul- 
ers of nations. It is not every German who is the equal in birth 
of the German Kaiser j his equals are a large, very mixed 


class of international old families. "We may abuse Russia as 
a "louse-land" to our heart's content, but its *' louse-prince " ^ 
remains the kaiser's equal in birth, and no German, how- 
ever high his position, can ever become so. There are no 
national princely dynasties, only international ones. During: 
the course of the war the English have often been taunted 
with the fact that their kings have German blood. German 
princes usually have also much English, or at least foreign, 
blood. The czar himself was not a Russian by blood. This 
likewise is true of the greater and lesser nobility. 

Purely negative elements like antipathy or hatred may 
likewise tend to form states or leagues of states. There have 
been many wars of coalitions in Europe. The special object 
of the coalition against France was to attack the French con- 
ception of liberty. 

It is by no means necessary that such coalitions should al- 
ways be directed against liberty. In America representatives 
of the most diverse nations flock with a new love about the 
Stars and Stripes. This is partly due to the weariness and 
aversion with which the European immigrants view their 
old home. It would be desirable if some such coalition could 
be organized against the various medievalisms of Europe. If 
it once came into being, it would prove more lasting than 
previous coalitions have been. 

It seems as if all these forms of patriotic civilization would 
have to remain ineffective because there is too much dispersed 
effort. Religion and art, occupation and preference, rarely 
make a complete human being. They are not determining fac- 
tors in the history of mankind. 

§ 108. — Language as a Formative Element of States 

There is one factor in civilization which is of superlative 
importance. It is more comprehensive than any of those 
hitherto mentioned. It is so exclusively designed for definite 

1 Alluding to the last syllable of Nicolaus (English Nicholas), the 
name of the last czar. — Translator. 


groups of men that it automatically brings about a certain 
natural grouping. This is language. It is the depositary in 
which man places as permanent legacy all the conceptions 
that he has acquired in the course of time. It is to him art and 
religion and science and more ; for this reason it is self-evident 
that a society built up on the basis of language must be of 
incomparable importance. 

Every one feels that a man who speaks his own language 
is a fellow-countryman, and that he who speaks another lan- 
guage is a foreigner. It is natural that when German patriot- 
ism began to stir the first desire was to have a German coun- 
try coextensive with the regions where German was spoken. 
In his address of welcome at the first Congress of Germanists 
at Frankfort on the Main, Jacob Grimm, its first president, 
said : 

**By a people is understood an aggregate of men who speak 
the same language. This declaration should fill us Germans 
with pride, for it indicates that inevitably linguistic boundar- 
ies will win the victory over boundaries arbitrarily set.'' All 
those present acclaimed this statement. Among them were 
poets like E. M. Arndt and Ludwig Uhland, politicians like 
Dahlmann and Beseler, jurists like Welker and Mittermaier, 
Germanists like Lachmann and Wilhelm Grimm, historians 
like Ranhe and Gervinus, as well as Falk, who later became 
Prussian minister. 

This elemental feeling of homogeneity among those who use 
the same language exists everywhere. The Italian irredentist 
is indifferent to the fact that Germanic descendants of the 
ancient Longobards dwell in the plain of the Po, or that the 
region of the upper Isonzo is inhabited by descendants of the 
homo alpinus, who was anything but Italian. He merely says 
that wherever Italian is spoken the Italian flag should wave. 
Even he who for political reasons opposes this interpretation 
cannot help but feel in his heart that his opponents are in the 

It is more or less correct that since the beginning of Euro- 


pean history we have understood by a German one who 
speaks German, and by a Frenchman one who speaks French. 
We may assume that this will continue to be so. The line of 
historical development has been in this direction ever since 
the great French Revolution for the first time virtually enunci- 
ated the doctrine of human liberty and self-determination. 
The only states which exist at present are those whose bounda- 
ries are reasonably in accordance with language. The only ex- 
ception is unfortunate Austria, and it is a relic of medieval 
times. All geographical rearrangements which have occurred 
since then, such as the unification of Italy, the partial unifica- 
tion of Germany, and the creation of national Balkan States, 
have been made in the sense of linguistic uniformity. Nice, 
Lorraine, and northern Schleswig are exceptions. 

In addition to these three anti-national events, there are 
Switzerland, Luxemburg, and Belgium. Here the linguistic 
boundaries overlap as the result of the diplomatic shifts of 
earlier days. A certain recognition of the abnormal status 
of these countries is seen in the fact they are not fully ac- 
cepted as countries, but are neutralized. That language is the 
reason for their neutralization rather than their relative unim- 
portance is apparent when we consider that many much 
smaller countries are not neutralized. 

§ 109. — The Ideal of European Patriotism 

Formerly people were devoted to an ideal, or, when they 
had no ideals, to material advantages. Whenever there was 
any likelihood of realizing this ideal or these advantages in 
or through one 's country, people loved their country. It rep- 
resented the ideal. They fought and sacrificed themselves for 
it. But when a man's country failed to realize his ideal, he 
could repudiate the country, stand apart sadly, for no one likes 
to be alone, or he could even fight against his country. The 
noblest men in history have acted in this way. 

In ancient Greece the exiles, whether they were oligarchs or 
democrats, calmly fought against their native country. They 


placed a higher value upon the imperishable ideal than upon 
the accidental place of birth. Coriolanus fought against 
Rome. This has been the case for thousands of years. In 
Germany especially there have been innumerable instances; 
in England also. Just to mention a few examples, the Stuarts 
accepted the help of France, that is to say, the help of the 
arch-enemy. During the period of the Reformation all the 
world was divided according to religion, quite independent of 
country. Swiss Catholics fought on the side of Spain ; French 
Huguenots supported Protestant England. Dante in all tran- 
quillity and without being blamed for it rose against his native 
Florence. Algernon Sidney, the great English republican, 
entered into negotiations with Louis XIV. 

Even after the French Revolution the French nobility 
fought on the side of the Allies against the republic, and, 
conversely, later many French republicans fought for Ger- 
many during the struggle against Napoleon, as,, for example, 
Moreau at Leipsic. And even later, in times which we to-day 
would call full of a stirring nationalism, as during the Greek 
War of Independence, the motive force was libert}^ not a gen- 
eralized love of one's country. IMiaoulis of Hydra, the great 
victor over the Turks, for reasons of petty particularism 
burned the entire Greek fleet in order that it might fall into 
the hands of the opposing party under Capodistria. 

If in those times, when liberty of decision was still possible, 
a man felt patriotic, his patriotism was an ethical act, be- 
cause it depended on liberty and the primacy of reason. To- 
day such liberty of decision is almost unthinkable. No mat- 
ter what a person's ideals may be, it is in all seriousness 
demanded that he regard the country of his birth and the in- 
stitutions which surround him as the best possible. Such a 
patriotism is no longer an ethical demand; it is the slave- 
like or, better still, the animal-like, gregarious love of an ant- 
hill or bee-hive. No one can escape the pressure of this mod- 
em idol. Even the most radical Russians, who probably hate 
czarism more vehemently than anything else, released their 


adherents to join in the battle against Germany. This was 
only done after considerable reflection, but was not due to 
external pressure. The leaders who made the decision lived 
at liberty abroad, partly in neutral Switzerland. They did 
it because to-day patriotism as such is regarded as more 
precious than the most sacred rights of man. 

This excessive and exclusive patriotism is scarcely more than 
one hundred or one hundred and fifty years old. Let us cease, 
therefore, to compare our present-day patriotism with that of 
the ancients. Even those who appraise the modem type of 
patriotism highly should at least realize that it is something 
different. Let us grant that it has its roots in venerable tra- 
ditions, but it is not identical with those roots. Let us hope 
that it is merely a flower which will not blow for more than a 

May the old type of patriotism return. It did not love with- 
out the liberty of choice, but only after stern testing. Let it 
be rooted in the old, let it include love of one's native coun- 
try; but do not let it degenerate into hatred. Let it take 
into consideration the old elements of religion and morals, 
but let it pay heed also to the new, young convictions which 
are in a state of development. Above everything else, let 
it turn the dynastic patriotism into a belief in a democratic 

Let it be the completion' of what has gone before; let it he 
love for that which is individualistic, which, nevertheless, will 
not exclude the love for that which benefits all. 

In this final generalization both the high aim and the diffi- 
culty are apparent. The timid may feel that the one excludes 
the other. But here fundamentally, as in everything else, the 
question is merely one of liberty. Let there be a general 
cohesion and development in accordance with the principle of 
liberty. Let there be, on the individualistic side, an unques- 
tioned possibility to exercise one's interest in the general 
good, even beyond the narrower boundaries of one's country. 
Compel no larger group of people to be part of an alien state. 


By these means the possibilities of conflict will be removed. 

"Before science and art all barriers of nationality disap- 
pear/* says Goethe. **The re-birth of Poland is identical 
with liberty in Europe/' says Brandes. 

These two statements are so self-evident that they can 
hardly be disputed. Whoever has really accepted them need 
have no fear concerning the vitality of patriotism. 

As a matter of fact, it already lives on the other side of the 
Atlantic. In America the meaning of this new cosmopolitan 
patriotism is already evident; there the restrictions that are 
still necessary also appear. 

The old tiny nationalities have grown too narrow for a free 
patriotism, just as in Germany Hessian, Bavarian, and Prussian 
patriotism was too limited. The time for a universal brother- 
hood of man has not yet arrived. The clefts which separate 
the white race from the yellow and black are still too deep. 
In America this European patriotism has awakened. It will 
doubtless be the type of the immediate future, and we should 
like to be its precursors. When Americans say, ** America 
for Americans," what they really mean is America for the 
free descendants of white Europeans. Despite all the enthu- 
siasm for the emancipation of slaves, racial antagonism toward 
non-Europeans is more marked in America than anywhere else. 
In the Southern States it often assumes ridiculous and gro- 
tesque forms. 

In America they have understood what the struggle is about. 
It was possible for the new patriotism to be born there, because 
the old dynastic patriotism of European states was there trans- 
muted through liberty and responsibility into a true civiliza- 
tion patriotism, even if it is still inseparable from race. The 
new Europe is already born not in Europe, but in America, 
where there are no ruined castles, no worn-out and grotesque 

The new Europe is born. We who have remained here 
in Europe should take heed that it may also become a living 
force in the older countries. Otherwise civilization will be 


permanently transferred to America. This would be hu- 
miliating to us, though objectively considered not nearly as bad 
as if might were permanently transferred to the Mongolians. 
Both civilization and might require a European patriotism. 


Unjustifiable Chauvinism 

1. — selfishness and love 

§ 110, — Love of One's Coimtry not Beat Love 

Like goodness, justice, and the feeling for beauty, love can 
become so idealized that no trace of defect can be found in it. 
No one can call the love that Christ preached and practised 
evil. When, in contradiction to its essence, love is directed 
toward one's self, accentuating the instinct of self-preserva- 
tion, it may become a vice. Its normal function is to mitigate 
this instinct. 

These kinds of selfishness are called love only because of 
the poverty of our language. People in general, who have 
a fine instinct in such things, have invented new words to 
designate them, apparently because the w^ord "love" had a 
deeper significance to them. Whoever loves himself is not self- 
loving, but self-seeking. Excessive love of one's family is 
called ** monkey-love "(doting affection). Excessive love of 
one's country is called not patriotism, but *' chauvinism." 
Such linguistic usages disclose the fact that love of one's 
self and of one's own interests, and consequently, in cer- 
tain circumstances, of one's country, can be exaggerated. It 
is only relatively a virtue, at least at the time when these 
terms arose. This was the opinion of the overwhelming mass 
of mankind. 

We have already gone beyond the naive over-estimation 
which children and savages have of themselves. No one with 
good taste or education will boast excessively about himself. 
If he does so, he becomes a ludicrous figure. But to him as 



the one sixty-seven millionth part of an entire people any 
amount of boasting and self-praise is permissible. 

It is a human trait to believe in one's own virtues and in 
another's vices; consequently we call only the patriotism of 
other countries chauvinism. Only the greatest men retain 
impartiality enough to admit that there is also chauvinism at 
home. Goethe ridicules the "fatherland" talk of the- Ger- 
mans, Chateaubriand and Taine that of the French, and 
Shakspere and Shaw that of the English. Lessing calls pa- 
triotism a ** heroic weakness," an expression which, probably 
gets at the root of the matter best of all. 

Christ and Tolstoy have discarded patriotism; as a matter 
of faet there is no truly great man who has ever been patriotic 
in the current sense of the word. Not even great statesmen 
like Frederick II and Napoleon, who surely were ready to die 
for their country, were patriotic in this sense. Frederick II 
lived and thought in the literature of his enemies; Napoleon 
was perhaps the first one who, beside Goethe, dreamed of the 
Europe to be. Bismarck, who knew better than any one else 
how to play on the patriotic passion as on the keys of a 
piano and whose life-work consisted in wisely making use of 
such feelings, was much too wise to yield himself up to such 
passions. This Brandenburgian Bismarck, who loved his 
home as no one else; Bismarck, the junker, more wholly de- 
voted to his family, rank, and people than any one else; 
this Bismarck, who grew to maturity in the storms of 1848, 
who understood the necessity for national unity better than 
any one else — this man never uttered a patriotic or chauvin- 
istic word of the caliber that is now heard on every side. 

Not even his principal enemies can deny that Bismarck was 
a man of exceptional intelligence. Any one who will only 
superficially study his life will recognize that excessive patriot- 
ism is less a vice than an error of thought. Bismarck's life 
will show better and more clearly than I can do it that love of 
one's country is not a real love, but a means for agitation. 
Love for Prussia, love for the German Empire, and love for 


the dream of a national state of all Germans were all jumbled 
together in his many-sided brain. He drew upon each spe- 
cialized love wherever he could put it to best use. 

Many will say that this was permissible to a statesman 
sure of his ground, who wished to bring about a realization of 
his plans through the passions of others, but that a ''subject" 
should dutifully have only the kind of patriotism which may 
be proper at the time. To argue this point is useless. When 
the conception of "subjects" disappeared, the duty of a sub- 
missive love likewise disappeared. Just as we demand liberty 
in all things, so we must also be free in our affections. Love 
may be blind, but only after it has chosen with seeing eyes. 
If it is condemned to blindness before choosing, it is not love, 
but madness. 


§ 111. — Mass-Feeling Among Animals 

Patriotism grows out of love of home, the family, and the 
social instinct. When we know these three sources, we know 
its essence. But if our knowledge is restricted solely to this 
threefold origin, we shall never know its fuU greatness and 
its far-reaching effects. A certain excess quality seems always 
to be associated with the functioning of patriotism. This 
tendency "to run to leaf" can be explained only by mass 
suggestion, which, like a tropical sun, always fructifies anew 
and poisons love of one's country. 

It is a peculiar phenomenon, when several animals or men 
undertake to perform something in common, that this very 
fact of acting in common causes a change in the action of 
the individual units. The ancients already knew this. There 
is the well-known story of the legendary king who, on his 
death-bed, had a bundle of twigs brought to him. He tied 
them together, and then asked his sons to break the bundle 
in two. Not one of them could accomplish this. He loosened 
the string, and with his feeble, dying hand easily broke the in- 


dividual twigs one after another. ' ' By this you can see that in 
union there is strength, ' ' he said. 

We have begun to appreciate these mass effects. We know 
that two men can carry more than twice as much as each one 
alone. We have long since learned from physics the reason 
for this. We know why a large ship can make greater speed 
than a small one, and why the hundred horse-power of an 
automobile, concentrated upon one point, can produce a more 
powerful and intensive effect than a hundred individual 
horses. With these facts we may compare the fact that a 
mass of men reacts in quite a different fashion from an in- 
dividual man, and usually much more powerfully. 

We know that the same thing occurs among animals. Every 
horseman knows that his horse in column formation can per- 
form deeds and overcome obstacles that alone it would have 
failed to accomplish. Every huntsman knows that a pack of 
hounds is more courageous than an individual dog. Forel 
states that among ants the courage of the individual ant in- 
creases in direct proportion to the number of friends and com- 
panions, and similarly decreases the more isolated the in- 
dividual ant is. As proof he instances that fact that a 
worker-ant among its fellows will undergo a tenfold death, 
but grows timid when alone. Even within twenty steps of 
the nest it will take flight before a much weaker ant. He 
also states that generally the inhabitants of a populous 
ant-heap are much braver than individual ants of the same 
species from a very small community. 

Kouget reports similar facts among wasps. According to 
him, the greater their number, the more excitable they are. 
He also believes that the sentries which wasps post here and 
there can transmit their excitement to their companions in 
some intensified form. In this way only can we explain the 
frightful intensity which an enraged hornets '-nest sometimes 


§ 112. — Mass Feeling Among Men 

These observations among animals are likewise confirmed 
among men. The reaction of an individual man is augmented 
in an extraordinary way by the feeling of mass. We can see 
this effect in the case of public speakers. If we estimate the 
intensity with which a speaker addresses an assembly at unity, 
the response which his words call forth may be ten or a hun- 
dred times as great. This is the unique effect of the spoken 
word. Nordau aptly points out that often speeches that had 
a tremendous effect upon an audience seem very commonplace 
when later read in stenographic report. This is also true of 
the theater. A play which seemed rather indifferent on read- 
ing, may, when produced, have an unprecedented success or 
be a complete failure. Even the most experienced director 
rarely dares trust his judgment before the first performance. 

The same thing is shown in the reports of latter-day mir- 
acles. Some one in a crowd sees a gleam of light which he 
interprets as the Holy Virgin, and promptly the entire as- 
semblage sees the phenomenon just as clearly. Probably no 
one can wholly escape such mass suggestion. An Indian 
jungle tale, whose author, unless I am mistaken, was Kipling, 
is very characteristic. Several Europeans are sitting together 
in a forest toward eventime. An old Hindoo magician ar- 
rives with his son. He plants a bean, and to all appearance 
the stalk grows endlessly upward toward the dark sky. The 
boy climbs up it, and disappears in the darkness. The old man 
dances a wild dance, then cuts the stalk, which collapses, and 
at the feet of the spectators lies the crushed body of the boy, 
which his father covers with a mantle. After a few minutes 
father and son take leave in perfect health. Every one of 
those present, however, is firmly convinced that he has ac- 
tually witnessed the horrible scene with his own eyes. This 
is a significant example of mass suggestion. An illusion like 
this would never succeed if the performers attempted to im- 
pose it on a single person. 


Among animals this mass feeling depends upon inherited 
instincts ; among men in part surely upon acquired suggestion. 
While the causes have not as yet been investigated with suffi- 
cient thoroughness, it is nevertheless comparatively easy to 
obtain an approximate idea of the origin of such mass sug- 

When we hear an incredible report for the first time we 
are skeptical. When we hear it repeated a second time or 
still more frequently the thought begins to grow in us that 
there may be some truth in it, after all. Thus by the simple 
fact of constant repetition our belief grows stronger and 
stronger. An anecdote, was once published in ''Fliegende 
Blatter.'* Some one meets a group of school-children, and 
says to them, **Go to the Braugasse; a fish is taking a walk 
there." In the next street he meets hurrying servant-girls, 
and in reply to his question where they are running so fast 
they say, *'To the Braugasse; a fish is taking a walk there." 
Then he meets soldiers and students, all of whom are hurry- 
ing to the Braugasse, because a fish is taking a walk there. 
Finally he says to himself, *' Confound it all, I fancy I had 
better take a look in at the Braugasse ; maybe a fish is really 
taking a walk there." 

There is a serious substratum in this anecdote. We may 
express an opinion under external compulsion, knowing that 
it is untrue. Then every one about us, perhaps under the 
same external compulsion, repeats it. Finally we come to a 
point where we are more and more firmly convinced of the 
correctness of the opinion, though originally we had very 
little faith in it. 

Intereommunieation between people takes place not only by 
means of words, but also through gestures. In this way 
instinctive gestures alone, rightly interpreted, may call forth 
a certain feeling in us or accentuate one already present. 

This is most clearly seen when a speaker addresses a large 
assembly. At his first words a small part of the speaker's 
excitement is communicated to each one of his auditors. Let 


us say that it is on the average a one one-hundredth part. 
If the audience consists of a thousand persons, there will be 
present in the assembly a total amount of excitement ten times 
that of the speaker. It will be manifested in increased at- 
tention and visible tension, and perhaps ultimately in applause. 
The sum-total of these sudden activities will bring about a 
certain excitement, which in its turn reacts upon each indi- 
vidual auditor, in whom it calls forth greater excitement. 
The greatest effect is upon the speaker himself, who is car- 
ried away by the sight of his emotion-swept crowd. A direct 
speech, even a poorly prepared or improvised speech, is usually 
more effective than the most carefully thought-out speech read 
from manuscript, because the former is modified by the direct 
contact between speaker and audience. This reflex action is 
the reason why so many inexperienced speakers lose the 
thread of their discourse by the very success of their words. 
The effect which they produce is reflected back upon them so 
powerfully that it overwhelms them, as it were. If, however, 
a speaker can control his own emotion, and cause it to react 
upon the crowd, there must inevitably arise a series of recipro- 
cal shocks, resembling electrical shocks, between him and his 
auditors, causing both to transcend their customary moral 
equilibrium at certain moments.^ 


§113. — There is no Demarcation between Patriotism and 

Where is the line of demarcation between patriotism and 
chauvinism? In all soberness, I do not believe there is any 
real line of demarcation. If chauvinism is only patriotism in 
excess, how can there be such a line ? It is always a perilous 
matter to draw a line between too much and too little. Ac- 
cording to ordinary usage, chauvinism is said to be perverted 

1 The last sentence is a quotation, I believe from an English author, 
but I have lost the source. 


patriotism; but what does this mean? If I am permitted 
to discuss the question of love of one's country, if this love is 
to be subordinated to my other perceptions of good and evil, 
patriotism loses the uniqueness which is said to be its dis- 
tinguishing feature. It is merely a love like any other love. 
If I am to reject chauvinism, I must have the right to regard 
as objectionable that which other people call patriotism, for 
no one ever calls himself a chauvinist. 

If, indeed, there is a difference between chauvinists and pa- 
triots, it is thisf a chauvinist loves his country in all cir- 
cumstances, whether it is good or bad. ; He regards this love 
as the greatest thing in life, and, if he is a courageous and 
moral man, he serves his country with every means at his dis- 
posal. . A patriot, on the contrary, is he who loves and sup- 
ports whatever is good in his fatherland, as in everything else, 
and who hates and opposes whatever is bad.v/ By reason of his 
instincts, habits, and reflections he has come to the conclusion 
that for him personally it is most advantageous and best to 
live in that particular country and to serve it according to the 
best of his powers and abilities. 

This latter type of man may be intensely and passionately 
devoted to his country ; but he will not let his love carry him 
away to the extent of committing a wrong, for the very reason 
that he respects himself and his country. ' Men of this type, 
however, are not as a rule called patriots. 

The other type of man, who is ready to commit wrong for 
his country, may act, of course, according to ethical prin- 
ciples, provided his ethical principles are such as to permit 
him to commit wrongs. Usually he does not act in accord- 
ance with ethical principles, and it is in no way necessary 
for him to love his country, and often he does not love it. He 
is either too weak or too cowardly to withstand mass sugges- 
tion. Often his cowardice goes so far that without for a mo- 
ment intending to do so he gives his life for his country. 
Such men call themselves patriots, and their compatriots do 
so likewise 


In what follows I call them chauvinists and patriots. It is 
now necessary to explain how men may become chauvinists. 
There are two reasons. 

The first is the inability to hold out against mass suggestion. 
Its influence in heightening the feelings of a person is more 
powerful in the case of patriotism than in any other field. 
By its very nature patriotism can be built up only on this 
feeling of number. 

Furthermore, every weakling seeks support from others, and 
feels himself strong only when he acts in conjunction with 
others. It is only the truly strong man who is strongest alone. 
In general all these weaklings have no real personal civiliza- 
tion value; they have no feeling of solidarity in civilization. 
Whoever is without intelligence cannot have any intellectual 
kin. Therefore, in order to be able to attach themselves to 
anything, these people will have to seek some external bond. 
And what could be more adapted for this than nationalism? 
Every blockhead feels himself uplifted when, with several 
dozen millions of other blockheads, he can form a majority. 
Thus in the course of time this need for attachment on the 
part of several dozen millions becomes an unconquerable force. 

Ein Vorzug bleibt uns ewig unverloren, 

Mann nennt ihn beute Nationalitiit I 

Das heiszt, dasz "irgendwo" der Mensch geboren, 

Was Freilich sicb von selbst verstebt. — Grillparzer.^ 

^ The less character there is in a nation, the greater, naturally, 
is such a nation's patriotism. Never did the civis Romanus 
sum sound more proudly than during the decadence of the 
Roman Empire. ? 

This is the positive condition of chauvinism; negative con- 
ditions are chiefly hatred and envy for what is foreign. The 
most intense love of one's country, filling a human being so 

1 (Roujjhly: "One advantage we can never lose; it ia to-day called 
nationality. ITiat is to say, that 'somewhere* a man was born, which 
after all ia something obvious.") 


completely that there is room for nothing else, will remain 
clean, provided there is no hatred toward other nations mixed 
with it. 

This inability to overcome with one's intelligence the mass 
suggestion of one's people or with one's character the hatred 
toward the enemy — these two factors stamp a man as a false 
patriot, or as a chauvinist. 

§ 114. — War as a Necessary Condition 

War is the solvent, and at the same time the sounding-board. 
For without war no one would be interested in patriotism or 
chauvinism. The man who loved his country would have 
an additional form of happiness, but if a man did not love it, 
no one would disturb him. The merchant and manufacturer 
of their own accord try to increase their trade and sales, and 
thus add to the national welfare. The scientists and artist 
do their best by reason of some power within them, and thus 
add to national civilization. They do not require a special 

"When money is to be appropriated for a school, theater, 
harbor, or canal, certain questions are considered, or at least 
should be considered, such as whether the costs will be pro- 
portionate to the increased comfort, wealth, civic improve- 
ment, or any other advantage that may ensue. In accordance 
with this the decision is made ; no patriotism is required. In 
short, patriotism does not play the slightest practical role in 
any of the activities of peace. 

But whenever the question is one of an army increase, of 
new cannons, or of new battle-ships, we have to appeal to 
patriotism, because such armaments are per se unproductive, 
and demand deprivations on our part. Therefore even dur- 
ing peace patriotism has to be stirred up by the threat of 
possible war. As a rule the glowing spark is just barely kept 
alive. Were it to flare up too brightly, it might disturb the 
activities of the diplomats, and governments are almost as 
proud of them as they are of the deeds of warlike valor. 


When war has once begun, such considerations are superflu- 
ous, for war generally puts many deprivations upon a popula- 
tion both in respect to mental and material necessaries of life. 
Consequently, patriotism must be augmented, for only the 
highest patriotic tension can bring about long-continued and 
voluntary self-denial in a people. 

This augmentation automatically comes into being through 
the sudden common activity of a people, which in its turn 
calls forth an increased sense of action; this again conditions 
an increased mass feeling. Then, too, the uncertainty and 
the fear with which the possible horrors of war are viewed 
brings about a closer association of all those who are weak. 

Both these feelings are played upon and artificially stimu- 
lated. A closer study of the press shows that the wire-pullers 
have an empiric understanding of the instincts of the crowd. 
Probably few people, except perhaps the late Mr. Barnum, 
would envy them this understanding. The whole performance 
essentially amounts to this. Either there is exaggeration of 
things favorable to one's own country or of those favorable 
to the opponent. In the one case the desire is to stimulate 
the mass feeling by the feeling of activity ; in the other to in- 
crease the need for cohesion. •^ 

§ 115. — Self -Praise and Fear 

In time of war people apparently can put up with any 
amount of self-praise. We have taunted the French for a long 
time because they believed that they marched a la tete de la 
civilization; but the fact remains that for a hundred years all 
Europe followed the French lead, one might say almost slav- 
ishly followed it. To-day we calmly accept statements like 
the following, "Germany is the most perfect thing ever created 
by history." — Lasson.^ W. Rein ^ calls it the *' heart," and 

1 Lasson, "Zwei Briefe an die hollandische Zeitschrift" "De Amster- 
damer" ("Two Letters to the Dutch Journal 'De Amsterdamer.' ") 

2W. Re'n in "Der Tag" (^'Tlie Day"), August 18. This furthermore 
is a parody of Holderlin, who once in an entirely different sense said that 
"Germany was the nations' sacred heart." 


G. Hauptmann,^ *'the soul of Europe." According to R. En- 
ken,2 Germany is ''complete civilization," in contrast with 
the French formal and the English material civilization. Ac- 
cording to Kohler,* all foreign countries owe ' ' the best of their 
culture" to Germany. Among others there is an over-abun- 
dance of epithet. Lasson,* for example, says, ' ' Sincerity and 
idealistic depth are peculiarly German qualities, and all really 
vital feeling for nature is German. Peculiarly German, too, 
is truth and fidelity, the overcoming of difficulties and love of 
work, thought and conscience, will, scientific impulse, and jus- 
tice." With similar pleonasm R. Dehmel ^ declares "Ger- 
many is more humane, has better discipine, morals, intellect, 
soul, and imagination." 

Statements like these could be found daily in the newspa- 
pers during 1914. Usually they were much worse. The 
passages above quoted are those of well-known personalities; 
we do not give any of those of journalists, which by reason 
of their anonymity were wholly unrestrained. 

This self-praise was accentuated by calumniation of the 
opponent. It is comprehensible that Euken and his asso- 
ciates should speak of Russia's brutal despotism, and make 
the people responsible for a government which they formerly 
highly regarded. Opinions like these were prevalent even 
before the war. It is incomprehensible, however, when R. 
Dehmel calls it a barbarous state par excellence or a mon- 
strosity of primitive instincts and imported refinements. A 
poet should at least respect creative literature sufficiently not 
to call barbarous a nation which has produced a trinity like 

iG. Hauptmann, "An meine amerikanischen Freunde ("To my Ameri- 
can Friends"), Berliner "Tageblatt," Oct. 21. 

2 R. Euken, ''Erster Vortrag in der Urania" ( "First Discourse in the 
Urania" ) . 

3 Kohler, Berliner "Tageblatt," Sept. 18, 1914. 

*Lasson, "Fiinfte Rede in schweror Zeit" ("Fifth Address in Serious 
Times"), according to the Berliner "Tageblatt," September 26, 1914. 

5 Dehmel, "Brief an meine Kinder" ("Letter to my Children"), Ber- 
liner "Tageblatt," October 10, 1914. 


Lermontov, Dostoievsky, and Tolstoy. Besides, R. Dehmel is 
personally acquainted with a sufficient number of Russians 
whom he knows to be men of unprecedented delicacy and fine- 
ness of feeling. Why, then, all this talk about a " monstros- 

Most of them were more friendly toward France, but the 
half-pitying smile with which men like Carl Hauptmann, 
Roethe, and Richard Dehmel tried to dispose of the poor 
Gauls was hardly dignified. Wholly unworthy of German 
liberality of thought were the insults heaped upon the Japan- 
ese, Serbians, and Belgians. I omit further reference to them 
because every reader, if he has not unfortunately repeated 
them himself, has, at any rate, heard them a dozen times over. 

The things said of England are almost unbelievable. Har- 
nack ^ called the English traitors to civilization ; Haeckel,- said 
they were the greatest criminals in the history of the world; 
Gustav Roethe said the Englishman was the great cold hypo- 
crite. England's actions were motivated, according to Eukeu, 
by a *' repulsive frivolity" and, according to C. Hauptmann, 
by **a shopkeeper's envy,*' and so on, almost ad infinitum. 
Here, too, Richard Dehmel achieved the masterpiece. In addi- 
tion to calling the English a * ' wild beast, ' ' he did not hesitate 
to declare that Shakspere and Byron *'were cynics when you 
really fundamentally analyzed them." 

If such statements could come from men of letters and 
thinkers, it is not difficult to imagine how far Philistines and 
journalists went. As far as I can judge among the daily news- 
papers, the prize goes to the ** Deutsche Tageszeitung"; 
among other journals **Simplizissimus" and "Jugend"^ are 
close competitors. 

The daily reading of things like these results inevitably in 

1 Harnack, Rede im Berliner Rathaus am 11 August, 1914, und Brief 
vom 10 September ("Speech in the Berlin city hall on August 11, and 
Letter of September 10, 1914"). 

2Haeckel, England's "Blutachuld" ("England's Blood-guilt"). 

8 Two well-known Munich humorous weeklies. — Translator. 


that a man considers his own people the best, and that its de- 
fense will not only further his own interests, but also those 
of mankind at large. In this way war and chauvinism re- 
ciprocally augment each other. Here is the reason for the 
declaration of 3016 high-school teachers,^ that *'the welfare of 
the civilization of all Europe depended upon a German vic- 
tory," or for Carl Ilauptmann's^ statement that *'only by 
the complete victory of German arms can the independence of 
Europe be established." Juliusburger ^ aptly says, and men 
like Haeckel and Ostwald support this, **It is Germany's his- 
toric task to organize Europe under its leadership."* 

The one-sided reports concerning the bravery of our own 
troops and the cowardice of the enemy belong to the same cate- 
gory. Here, too, belongs the more or less skilful attempt of 
both sides to put the blame for the war upon the other side. 
This has been characteristic of all wars. A thousand other 
things also belong here; used all together they condition the 
horrible campaign of calumniation, w^hich, unfortunately, al- 
ways runs parallel with the campaign of arms. 

This boasting and assumption of a terrifying aspect is an an- 
cient animal heritage. The lion roars before he attacks, the 
elephant tramples down the ground while awaiting the enemy, 
the serpent distends itself and hisses; the Trojans made long 
speeches, full of self-praise and belittlement of the enemy. 

On the other hand, the attempt to stimulate patriotism by 
exaggerating the danger is purely human. This attempt has 
a rational purpose only when its aim is to cause a half-way 
intelligent citizenry, apparently of their own free will, to sub- 

1 ErklUning der Hochschullehrer des Deiitschen Reichs" ("Declara- 
tion of the High-school Teachers of the German Empire"), October 10, 

2 C. Haiiptmann, "Go«?en Unwahrheit" ("Against Untruth"), "Tagliehe 
Rundschau," August 26, 1914. 

3 Otto .Tnliusbur«:er, "Europa untor Deutsclier Ffihrung" ("Europe 
under (German Leadership"). "Monistisches Jahrhundert" ("Monistic 
Century"), November 13, 1914, p. 657. 

4 Cf. § 16 in regard to the germ of truth in this unjustifiable assertion. 


scribe money, endure privations, or furnish soldiers. Voli- 
tion does not exist in the animal kingdom. 

This method was employed chiefly by the world-powers. 
In England the Zeppelins were used for this purpose, and 
entire sections of cities were darkened. In general all the 
clamor about the cruelty and barbarity of the Germans was 
raised for this purpose. In Germany it was possible to em- 
ploy this principle only in the early days of the war, be- 
cause later the military situation appeared relatively too favor- 
able, or was made to appear so. But at first the attempt was 
made to spread fear and trembling in our own camp by all 
manner and means of wild reports. The figures ' ' four against 
one" were hammered into us by way of suggestion, just as 
though there were no Austria or later Turkey and Bulgaria. 
Even Adolf von Harnack seems to have succumbed to this sug- 
gestion, for on September 10, 1914, he wrote, quite contrary 
to facts, in order to excuse the invasion of Belgium, that, 
**one hundred and ninety millions had attacked sixty-eight 
millions." The Austrians were entirely left out of his calcu- 
lations, despite the fact that they nominally were the main 
issue. The enemy and his might were exaggerated, especially 
in their more loathsome aspects. His spies were said to be 
omnipresent. They were blowing up our tunnels and bomb- 
ing our cities even far in the interior of the country. French 
physicians were poisoning our wells, and huge masses of gold 
were being shipped through Germany. 

It is not immaterial whether such senseless stories are be- 
lieved or not. The fact remains that the story about the pois- 
oned wells was for the time being believed by at least seventy- 
nine million men, assuming that there are approximately 
eighty million Germans in Germany and Austria. 

§ 116. — The Consequences of Chauvinism 

The form of suggestion described in the preceding para- 
graphs was everj^here successful. The preparations for the 
War of 1914 had been more thorough than those for any other 


war hitherto. Patriotism rose to unmeasured heights. There 
was also another result, an unintended one, let us hope. The 
hatred of nations simultaneously rose to unmeasured heights. 
The saddest part of this is that the suggestion will disappear, 
but the hatred remain. 

This wallowing chauvinism concentrates every human ca- 
pacity for love upon one's self and one's own country; for 
others only hatred remains. There is no room for 
any other potentiality of the human soul beside these two 
passions. The results cannot be described in detail. Every 
one who will re-read the newspapers of the first year of the war 
can for himself find a fullness of melancholy facts. A few ar- 
bitrarily selected instances will show what is meant. 

Reasoning power broke down completely. Everything 
was believed. No one seemed to notice that the passage of 
an automobile through closed borders was impossible, or that 
it was impossible to transport the weight of the sums men- 
tioned in an automobile. The authorities, at least indirectly, 
unfortunately aided in the building up of such legends. 
There was no timely official denial of the rumors of the arrest 
of French physicians who were said to have been caught in 
the act of poisoning wells, or of the shooting of the innkeeper 
Nikolai. Despite the censorship, the demonstrably false re- 
ports about gouged-out eyes, chopped-off hands, assassinated 
gamekeepers, etc., were allowed to circulate through the press, 
and their success was unexampled. Gradually no rumor was 
absurd enough not to find believers. This paroxysm of denial 
of the intelligence seized German science also, where surely 
there should have been the habit of exact investigation of 
truth. In the proclamation by the German savants to the 
world of culture, the statement, *'it is not true," is repeated 
seven times. And this document is signed by thirty-five 
scientists, despite the fact that in each of the seven cases the 
question involved is one which by its very nature makes it im- 
possible to give a categorical judgment concerning its truth or 


That there is no room for ethics in war is evident per se. 
Yet the chauvinist tries to lay claim to it for himself and his 
side, entirely without reason, entirely a tout prix. A charac- 
teristic article is one by Paul Ernst. ^ It deals with the 
question, "whether Yorck's action in the Convention of Tau- 
roggen was unethical and whether he committed treason to- 
ward his confederates. ' ^ Paul Ernst 's conclusions are as fol- 
lows. Yorck was a German, a pious, moral German, stand- 
ing firmly on the foundation of Kant 's ethics. Such Germans 
commit only ethical acts, and consequently his treason toward 
his king and his confederates was an ethical act. Verbatim 
Paul Ernst writes, **A Southerner, even a Frenchman, can- 
not understand the conflict; Yorck, the man of iron and of 
stern, inflexible honor was permitted to take this step. It is to 
his personality we owe the fact that at the apex of our na- 
tional liberation there is not an iniquity, but a great, heroic 
sacrifice." The deed, consequently, was bad in itself, and 
would have been if a Southerner or a Frenchman had com- 
mitted it, but done by a German, it was heroic. I hope the 
time will soon come when Germans, even Paul Ernst himself, 
will look back upon such times with deep shame. For a 
chauvinism under the cloak of philosophical considerations is 
doubtless the most dangerous of all, because it is most likely to 
lead innocent persons astray. They do not even notice the 
cloven hoof. 

Certain German daily newspapers have demanded that 
prisoners and pigs should be fed together. Others have com- 
mented on the report of our general headquarters that ''numer- 
ous German sailors were rescued by the English," that rescue 
by this English riff-raff should be forbidden. This is chau- 
vinistic immorality of the grossest and crudest kind. If a 
person is not nauseated by it on his own accord, further argu- 
ment is useless. 

Unfortunately, there are to-day still very few with whom 
argument would be worth while. Not long ago one of our 

1 Paul Ernst in "Der Tag" ("The Day"), March 25, 1915. 


most highly educated military men asked me whether it might 
not be possible to hurl bombs loaded with cholera germs or 
plague bacilli behind the lines of the enemy. I suppress his 
name on account of his great services, and also because, after 
peax?e is reestablished, he will probably regret his question. 
When I told him that this seemed rather purposeless and 
hardly humane, he replied, with a contemptuous wave of the 
hand, that humanity had nothing to do with this war; that 
Germany had full license for whatever it wished to do. 

Unfortunately, millions of people think like this particular 
man of high achievement ; only, usually, they are much worse. 
For instance, the chief of the medical staff at Graudenz told 
me that he had often considered whether it might not be pos- 
sible to steal through the Russian lines and inoculate the 
Russians with living bacteria. He held that the employment 
of any means was justifiable against such vermin. Degener- 
ates like these no longer see in the enemy human beings like 
themselves; or, more correctly, they see in him a reflection of 
themselves — that is, only an animal. To them hatred has 
become a religion. It is a hatred without reflection, without 
meaning or reason, without justification. 

In Lissauer's "Chant of Hate against England/' this 
absurd person does not even try to tell us why he hates Eng- 
land. The entire so-called chant consists of a reiterated, shrill 
protestation that he hates England, and when we have read 
to the end of the verse, we might feel inclined to ask the 
author, *'And now tell us, why do you really hate England?" 
Lissauer himself once correctly remarked that his verses should 
not be spoken, but hissed. Admirable self-criticism! The 
breed of serpents and vipers has always existed, but hardly 
any one would have believed that so many of them also under- 
stood German. Julius Florus,^ the Roman historian, reports 
that the ancient Germans were in the habit of tearing the 
tongue of the mouths of such people with the words, **to the 

1 Julius Florus, Tandem, vipera, sibitare desiste (EpitowQ rerum 
romanorum, lib. IV. cup. XII. ), 


end that the poisonous serpent may cease to hiss. ' ' At present 
our measures are milder. But let us hasten to forget as soon 
as possible that such a song was ever popular in German, or 
that words like ^'Hiddekk^'^ and *'Gott strafe England" ^ 
(*'God punish England") had currency. 

In antiquity foreign languages were unknown, and with 
the best will in the world it was impossible to uuderstaud the 
foreigner. Consequently it was only natural that the for- 
eigner should come to be looked upon as a barbarian ; that is, 
one speaking a strange language. No contemptuous secondary 
signification was originally associated with this word before 
the time of the Persian Wars. Plato still writes, "Great also 
are the races of barbarians," but to Aristotle® it already 
seems self-evident that the Greeks are the superiors of the 
barbarians. At the present time the intellectual life of a 
foreign nation is almost as accessible to every one as is that of 
his own country, and to-day the mania of calling *' foreigners " 
barbarians is merely a sign of defective education. 

When the ordinary citizen over his beer boasts with booming 
voice that we are the most moral, bravest, most chivalrous, 
most intelligent, in short the best people in every respect, we 
can let that pass, with the assumption that his circle of vision 
does not extend beyond the walls of his beer-house. The case, 
however, is different when a man like Richard Dehmel declares 
that only Germans have a true title to world-dominion, quite 
forgetting that he, too, once held the belief that the world's 
ultimate purpose was not that of being dominated ; or again, 

1 According to the ordinary interpretation, H. I. D. D. E. K. K. is said 
to mean: ''Hauptsache ist, dasz die Englander Keile kriegen'* ("The 
important thing is that the English get a drubbing." In the pro-entente 
circles of German Switzerland it was translated by, ''Hauptsache ist dasz 
Deutschland englische Keile kriegt" ("The important thing is that Ger- 
many get an English drubbing"). 

2 It is said that the English change this to ''Oott verzeihe Deutsch- 
land" ("God forgive Germany"). 

3 Aristotle, "Politica," 1-2. Cf. also Roth, "Uber Sinn und Gebrauch 
des Wortes Barbar" ("On the Meaning and Use of the Word Bar- 
barian") : Nuremburg, 1843. 


when a man like Cohen ^ states that only Germans can be 
philosophers, quite forgetting how much Kaut owes to Berke- 
ley, merely to give an example which may interest Cohen. It 
is in cases like these that we must confess, alas I that chauvin- 
ism has done its crudest work. It has succeeded in reducing 
minds, noble and liberal in themselves, almost to the level of 
those who, except for their mug of beer, know nothing else 
of the world. 


§ 117. — Civilization as an Organism 

What has been said so far touches only certain individual 
cases. They illustrate how injurious and hostile to civiliza- 
tion the tendency of a chauvinistic point of view is. They 
may not be convincing, because they may possibly be merely 
exceptional instances. But it can easily be shown that civiliza- 
tion and chauvinism, we may even say civilization and patriot- 
ism, are in and of themselves incompatible antitheses. 

There is doubtless, as will be shown in the next chapter, a 
national civilization which must be preserved. Such a civil- 
ization, however, is possible only when we subordinate our 
national feeling to the ideal of civilization as a whole, but not 
when we reverse the order. 

Nietzsche ^ once said that war made the victor stupid and 
the vanquished barbarous. This probably merely means that 
war destroys civilization, for Nietzsche does not indicate why 
in the one instance intellectual civilization, and in the other 
that of the feelings, should suffer. This voluntary division 
seems doubly odd in the case of Nietzsche, who more firmly 
than any one else clung to the belief in the possibility and 
necessity of a common civilization in the sense which obtained 

1 Cohen, "Das Eigenttimliche des deutschen Geiates. Vortrag in der 
Kant-Gesellschaft" ("The Distinctive Quality of the German Mind. Dis- 
course before the Kant Society"), 1914. 

2 Nietzsche, "Menschliches, Allzumenschliches. Der Krieg" ("Human, 
All Too Human. War"). 


hitherto only among the ancient Hellenes when they opposed 
kalokagaihia (nobleness) to the conception of barbarians. 

It is true that many earnest thinkers have felt that a *' spe- 
cialized civilization" is not a true civilization. So, for in- 
stance, Kant^ says that civilization is "the adaptation of the 
capacity of a reasonable being to its appropriate function"; 
and Fichte - similarly, but not quite as clearly, maintains that, 
''civilization is the exercise of all forces to the object of com.- 
plete liberty." Most definite and satisfactory, however, is 
Nietzsche's statement, ''civilization is the harmony of mutually 
opposed forces. ' ' 

A painter, musician, or sculptor can as little wholly repre- 
sent civilization as a scientist, technician, or a philosopher. 
Not even the sum-total of a particular profession can by itself 
produce a civilization. The huge structure of a period in 
civilization consists in the combination of all those forces which 
have been mentioned, and many others, into a single organism 
within which no check will be placed upon the free develop- 
ment of the individual parts. There are indeed certain 
periods in which one or the other of these tendencies of mind 
was predominant. The Middle Ages were predominantly re- 
ligious, the Renaissance was primarily artistic, the eighteenth 
century (the period of rationalism) was scientific, the preseiit 
time is technical, and the French Revolution was political. 
But when this predominance is so powerful as to suppress the 
other impulses of the human spirit, such a period can no 
longer be called civilized. 

Let us consider an organism like a human being. AVe can- 
not cut off a hand without simultaneouslj^ involving the brain ; 
we cannot injure the brain without at the same time produc- 
ing a detrimental effect on the hand. In general no individual 
part can be changed without producing a change in the whole. 
In the same way civilization becomes inferior when one of its 

1 Kant, "Kritik der Urtheilskraft" ("Critique of Judgment"), § 83. 

2 Fichte, "Grundlage der gesamten Wissensdiaftslehre" ("Foundation 
of the Whole Theory of Science"), VI, p. 86, 


individual elements sniffers. Any one who will reflect for a 
moment will see how intimately music is bound up with all 
other arts and sciences. Let us merely think of the origin of 
tragedy and lyric poetry, of Pythagoras, and of the various 

If there is any unifying principle amid the disruptions of 
the present time, that principle is civilization. It is such, and 
will remain so. However great the disruptions, civilization by 
necessity and by its inherent force makes for unity. Civiliza- 
tion cannot be disrupted either in space or in time. Neither 
the burning of Alexandria nor the burning of Byzantium; 
neither torture-chamber nor chair of St. Peter; neither war 
nor self-chosen emasculation on the part of certain so-called 
leaders of civilization can destroy it. A hand will always 
be there* to pass on the torch from to-day to to-morrow, from 
country to country. 

It is only as an individual part that a person can become 
faithless to civilization, and, perhaps, not even that is pos- 
sible. It may be that what the war has shown is merely the 
falling away of a civilized shell, which we mistook for civiliza- 
tion, from a dissolute heart. There is no question that civiliza- 
tion is a homogeneous organism whose arms encircle the world. 

Every organism can be subdivided in several different ways 
according to the mode in which it is viewed. A division can 
be made according to bodily regions (arms, legs, trunk, head, 
etc.), or according to systems of organs (blood-vessels, nerves, 
digestive organs, etc.), that is according to systems which 
more or less uniformly traverse all the bodily regions men- 
tioned above. 

Civilization as an organism can be similarly subdivided ac- 
cording to regions, as into Greek and Roman, German and 
Romance, Slavic and Chinese civilization, or we can divide it 
into systems, like intellectual, scientific, or technical civiliza- 
tion, which in their way more or less uniformly traverse all 
the regions. 

For the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with the scien- 



tific conception of an organism we have added the schematic 
Fig. 6. In it Germany, France, and England represent bodily 
regions, and the differently shaded ramifications represent sys- 
tems of civilization. The latter are indicated by the names 
Newton, Kant, and Napoleon. In place of these, or rather 
in addition to these, any other names or intellectual currents 
might be put. It is readily seen from the figure that neither 
a system of organs (as Kant, or philosophy in general), nor a 

Fig. 6. 


Snqfancl . 



bodily region (as France), can be removed without doing 
injury to the whole. If France disappeared, certain ramifica- 
tions which Kant's German philosophy has there produced 
would simultaneously disappear. In other words, if Germany 
should destroy France, it would at the same time irretrievably 
destroy certain flowers of its own most inherent civilization. 
This intertwining of one zone of civilization with another, this 
** cross-stratification " of civilization, has, especially in more 
recent times, assumed greater and greater importance, because 
of the increasing possibility of international intercommuni- 


§ 118. — The Internationalism of Civilization 

In the matter of technical civilization, limitation to the 
boundaries of a country is virtually unthinkable. The posts, 
telegraphs, railroads, and steamship lines are in their very 
essence institutions for all the world. The regulations con- 
cerning them show a distinct tendency toward a more and more 
far-reaching unification. Where such international regula- 
tions are still lacking even in relatively unimportant matters, 
such as whether an automobile is to turn out to the right or 
to the left, every one concerned feels that this is an anach- 

Scientific civilization also has not been national for a long 
time. Meteorology, the international determination of atomic 
weights, international archasological study, seismology, and 
astronomy are merely examples selected at random. They 
adequately establish for every one familiar with the respective 
science that here certain organizations are spread tliroughout 
the entire world, irrespective of nationality. A national medi- 
cine, jurisprudence, or pedagogy would be an absurdity. 

The condition described is officially recognized in that there 
are already numerous international bureaus,^ administered 
by the totality of nations. The most important of these, 
which have a political complexion, were distributed, in order 
to guard their inviolability, among the three states, Switzer- 
land, Belgium, and Holland, whose neutrality was guaranteed 
(alas! in vain). 

In Bern are the Bureau of Telegraphs (1865), of the Inter- 
national Postal Union (1874), for the Protection of Industrial 
Property (1863), and of Copyright (1886). 

In Brussels are the Bureau of Tariffs (1890), of Slave Trade 
(18*^0), and of the Sugar Commission (1902). 

In The Hague are the Court of Arbitration and the Superior 
Prize Court. 

1 In what follows only the official bureaus and those under a per- 
manent administration are given. There are in addition, of course, 
countless international associations and official agreements. 


In the case of the international institutes it was assumed, 
unfortunately incorrectly, that the precaution of locating them 
in neutralized countries would not be necessary. For who 
would have believed that men of science would ever renounce 
their international labors? 

Consequently, there are in Germany two bureaus: *'The 
Institute for Earth-Measurement (1864), at Potsdam, and that 
for seismology (1903), at Strasburg. 

In France there are also two: the Bureau of "Weights and 
Measures at Sevres (1875), and the International Bureau of 
Public Hygiene, at Paris (1893), with several branches in the 

The international Institute for the Study of the Sea (1902) 
is situated at Copenhagen, and that for Agriculture (1905) at 

There are besides numerous international agreements which 
govern the administration of individual countries. Fried ^ 
cites eighty-six, dealing with commerce and trade, law and 
police regulations, science and social endeavors, and war and 

A large part of modern civilization, such as manners, 
fashions, dances, popular songs, is international. No one can 
escape this. But every time Germans rush into war, those 
who remain behind determine to create distinctive Ger- 
man fashions. The attempt never met success. AYith the 
stubbornness of an unteachable mule the same campaign was 
started again in 1914, but, despite its noise, the movement 
broke down more quickly than ever before. The facts of in- 
ternationalism are more powerful to-day than ever before, and 
cannot be denied. Manufacturers remembered that ready- 
made articles of dress had to be shipped to South America; 
others in a half -ashamed way pointed to our exports to Eng- 
land, and recalled how many people were dependent upon 
them for their livelihood. Then those came along who remem- 

1 Fried, "Handbuch der Fricdonsbiwegung" ("Handbook of the Peace 
Movement"), I, 121 et seq., Leipsic, 1911. 


bered something of history — the former distinctively German 
shag hats and Jager underwear, and the fact that it was once 
regarded as unpatriotic to wear these. Next came the upper 
ten thousand, who remembered that at some time in the future 
they might perhaps want to play again at Monte Carlo and 
engage in sports in the Engadine, and that on such occasions 
the wearing of distinctively German styles might be a disad- 
vantage. So even during the period of the war the movement 
broke down despite the protests of the Gartenstrasse, and the 
winter of 1914-1915 saw Berlin wearing the same costumes as 
Paris. What is to-day called * ' German styles ' ' is merely cun- 
ning advertising adapted to the present time. In this the 
power of internationalism is disclosed in an almost excessive 
degree, for there can be no real objection to any one 's dressing 
as individualistically as he pleases. 

Habitations, like human beings, are also international and, 
unfortunately, colorless. Except for its historic buildings, 
Paris to-day can hardly be distinguished from London. Petro- 
grad, Bukharest, Constantinople, and Madrid may perhaps 
still have individual characteristics, but here, too, the tendency 
to conform to an international type is unmistakable. With- 
out the street-signs, it would be impossible to distinguish mod- 
ern quarters in Milan, Berlin, or Stockholm from one another. 

The water-front sections in Hong-Kong and Hamburg, in 
Port Said and New York, except for certain externals, are 
almost identical. There are the same dives for sailors and the 
same motion-pictures, the same international prostitutes and 
the same types of seafaring men. Wealthy sections, like 
Uhlenhorst (Hamburg) and Hong-Kong Hill, bear a closer 
resemblance to each other than they do to the respective har- 
bor-sections of St. Paul (Hamburg) and Hong-Kong Harbor. 

There is the plaint about the tourist who intrudes every- 
where. Unless we bury ourselves in the solitude of the 
pampas, the steppes, the tundras, or the primeval forests, it 
is almost impossible to escape Cook's standardized hotels. 

Art, then, remains. It also has in reality become interna- 


tional. The latest operetta is produced almost simultaneously 
in the various capitals of Europe. It is hardly possible any 
longer to designate Caruso as an Italian. Tolstoy, Ibsen, and 
Bernard Shaw have founded schools in all countries. 

There are cross-strata, like Naturalism, Impressionism, and 
the recent Futurism, which became dominant in all countries 
almost simultaneously. Even the local-color school in art is 
in reality merely a form of international snobbishness which 
appeared simultaneously in all countries. In the case of art 
one might perhaps seriously speak of a national intensifica- 
tion, for art is something traditional, and points toward the 
past. But the men are lacking who could create such a retro- 
spective art. Education is international. A boy sees and 
studies the same things everywhere. Even if he has grown up 
in the most forlorn district, his intellectual sustenance has 
been very much alike everywhere. Richard Dehmel, who grew 
up in a solitary forester's lodge in the swamps of Branden- 
burg, justly says that he owes his bit of brains to ten nations. 
As soon as a young artist has become famous, the interna- 
tional modern life irrevocably seizes hold of him. 

The attempt on the part of the Werdandi League to revive 
the old characteristically German national art failed, as did 
similar efforts in other countries. An art like this would 
develop only in the narrowly isolated cities of the Middle 

Thus to-day civilization as a whole has become international 
in its essence. Of course there are exceptions. But let us 
have no illusions ; they are unimportant. 

§ 119. — The Effect of Chauvinism upon Civilization in Gen- 

Since civilization and patriotism are each an ideal which by 
its nature must wholly fill a human being, a man cannot serve 
both. A man may be a patriot or a civilized human being. 
A man may say, **To the deuce with all civilization, if only 
my country hasn't forgotten how to strike with the sword." 


Whoever says this is at least a logical barbarian ; he is illogical 
only in so far as he protests against the term barbarian. But 
whoever holds that his own country's civilization lies close to 
his heart should remember that it is joined by a thousand 
secret threads to foreign countries, and consequently is in- 
jured by the break of international relations. 

If a monarch or a military person returns the distin- 
guished Order of the Golden Fleece, this may be a matter of 
indifference to the world, just as was the fact that at some time 
or other he received it. The purpose of such an order is not 
to promote international civilization. The case is different, 
however, when men of science renounce foreign academic 
honors or when academics expel enemy members. Such an 
act is contrary to what an academy is supposed to stand for.^ 
Wlien Privy Medical Councilor Schwalbe issues an appeal 
that no further international congresses be summoned and 
advocates non-attendance at such as may be called, this fact 
concerns mankind at large. The purpose of international 
medical congresses is, or should be, the discussion of the 
** health of mankind, '* just as at international meetings of 
lawyers- the *' rights of man'' are, or ought to be, discussed. 
Neither Mr. Schwalbe nor Mr. Kohler have any authority to 
express an opinion concerning this because of their personal 
or national sensitiveness. They are, provided they are en- 
titled to be heard as spokesmen at all, put in their high po- 
sitions by the totality of mankind. Just as the soldier prefers 
to die at his post rather than to leave it on the approach of 
danger, so it simply is the duty of such men to hold out stead- 
ily at their posts. If they do not do this, they are bad soldiers. 

The best proof of the hostility between civilization and 
patriotism lies in the following fact. Patriots in all serious- 

1 VValdeyer says (reprint from "Nord und Slid," p. 6) : "When the 
question concerns the honorary commands of regiments and the like it 
is perfectly proper to hand in one's resignation. But in my opinion it 
is quite a different matter when it comes to the rejection of honors 
obtained in a purely scientific sphere." 

2 Compare Kohler's actions in this respect. 


ness believe that they can rout out of civilization everything 
that does not conform to the higher demands of patriotism 
and yet leave civilization unimpaired. He who with con- 
temptuous gesture of the hand disposes of all civilization prior 
to August 1 by calling it estheticism or mannered decadence 
acts not only irreverently toward his own past, but also sins 
against the conception of civilization. 

It is not a matter of indifference that teachers to-day, in- 
stead of instructing youth, are in military service; that pro- 
fessors, instead of teaching, are drilling recruits; that our 
technicians, instead of aiding the progress of German in- 
dustry, are building military telegraphs and manufacturing 
gas-bombs ; in short, that all of a sudden the activities of our 
entire male population have been turned to a different end. 

If of all the manifold endeavors of civilization that we 
formerly considered precious, we now pursue only those 
which are of value for the carrying on of war, this voluntary 
turning aside dismembers civilization. "We shall, and in- 
evitably must, pay the penalty. 

§ 120.— TAe Special Effect of War 

War encourages the tendencies which are hostile to civiliza- 
tion, for war changes the character of man. As long ago as 
300 B. c. Menander ^ declared that not even a god could make 
a decent civilized human being out of a soldier; there is no 
difference to-day in the reverse after a soldier has been made 
out of a civilized human being. Only a cultivated man, for 
whom the conditions of life are more markedly altered, is 
more profoundly influenced than is the uncultivated man. 
Whether a Polish miner digs coal or trenches, and whether a 
German or English sailor serves on a merchant-ship or war- 
ship, is relatively immaterial. When a teacher is torn from 
his school, a banker from his office, a scholar from his study, 
and put gun in hand in the trenches there is in every case a 

1 Menander : Kofx\f/bs ffrpaTKbrris oid' S,v el TrKdrrei ovdeU yivoir &v. 


great transformation. When a poet or artist is snatched 
from his dream-land and set amid .the reality of cannons the 
contrast is absolute, quite independent of the question whether 
it is for the better or worse. This applies likewise to all other 
so-called leaders in civilization. 

In the case of the physician alone, except in the matter of 
certain personal comforts, we are proud to say no change is re- 
quired. Even in war he fights war, whose wounds he heals. 
That the cured are employed again to prolong the war is a fact 
for which the physician as such cannot be held responsible. 

For every one else war means an overturn. Everything 
that the civilized human being has previously believed in is 
now valueless. The point now is to act, and so men of 
thought turn into men of action. But only the most ex- 
ceptional among mortals can, like Goethe, who even under 
the thunder of the cannons of Jemappes retained his equable, 
cheerful calm, keep their self undivided. By this we mean, 
combine their intellect and will at any given moment to make 
of themselves a strong personality. Most people are either 
men of thought or men of action, and since the war relent- 
lessly forces them to deeds, there is no longer room for thought. 

These deeds, so hostile to civilization in themselves, we per- 
form because of patriotism and because of patriotism alone. 
Professor Gerhard Gran ^ of Christiania indicates this when 
he declares that patriotism causes a tremendous augmentation 
of the human power for action, but simultaneously a tremen- 
dous diminution of the capacity for thought. The harmony 
of a true civilization arises only out of congruity between 
thinking and acting. In general it may even be said that 
thinking should precede. 

Those who have remained behind are worse off than those 
in the field. The man who has been out there has subsisted 

1 Gerhard Gran, "Krieg, Wissenschaft, und Vaterland : Rede in der 
Universitat von Christiania" ("War, Science, and Fatherland: Discourse 
at the University of Christiania"), October, 1914. 


on poor and often inadequate food; his drink has been poor, 
but he has often drunk too much; he has marched in dust 
and heat; he has lain in mud and wet; he has hardly had 
any other thought but the purely vegetative one of self-preser- 
vation and of destroying his opponent. We may at least 
imagine such a man, when he returns home as after a long 
horrible dream, as looking at the alien life out there as 
something unreal, and as taking up his former life where 
he has left off. 

But with the man at home it is different. Lecture-rooms are 
empty ; schools are poorly conducted, and in them instruction 
only too frequently is subordinated to dubious celebrations 
of victory and to the organization of the pupils into a mili- 
tary reserve. The theaters are in large part given over to 
patriotic plays of inferior value. The political and scientific 
journals cannot keep away from the war. Factories for 
steel pens manufacture bullets, and electrical works grenades. 
Former actors sell the **Kriegszeitung" (''the Army Jour- 
nal'*), and painters paint only war-pictures. Gradually all 
the activities of peace become disintegrated, and the entire 
mechanism, though primarily destined for peace, is converted 
into a huge machine for war. Whoever has seen all this no 
doubt will deeply respect the stern will power of the nation, 
but at the same time a vast number of things will be broken 
in his soul, just as civilization has been broken before his 
eyes. We leave out of consideration entirely the miserable 
and demoralizing campaign of calumniation which he is com- 
pelled to view at much closer range than the soldier at the 

The direct destruction of the works of civilization is rela- 
tively unimportant in comparison with this subjective modi-, 
fication of the human capacity for civilization. And yet 
how much there is of this destruction ! The fields are devas- 
tated, and cities are burned; industries are destroyed, and 
works of art are laid in ruins. Perhaps this is inevitable, 
but things also which have nothing to do with war are sense- 


lessly and purposelessly destroyed. Humboldt^ complains 
that his travels around the world were destroyed by war. 
The eclipse of the sun in 1914 went by, and it was impossible 
to take advantage of the opportunities offered despite all 
the preparations that had been made. The observations in 
southern Russia in particular were impossible, and they were 
to have been the decisive test of Einstein's theory of gravity. 
This is the senseless logic of war. On the one side it sac- 
rilices millions of men, and on the other side it holds that a 
single soldier is worth more than the most magnificent beauty 
of a cathedral, or the highest truth which might have com- 
pleted the work which Newton began. 

1 Humboldt, Letter to F. Bollmann, October 15, 1799 (in the posseesion 
of the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh). 

The Legitimate Individualism of Nations 

1. — the conception op personality 

§ 121. — The Eight to Individuality 

Probably never before have the friends of Europe and 
the opponents of a fratricidal European war felt as lonely as 
they do to-day; for this latest war has taken on an incon- 
ceivable magnitude. Of the 450,000,000 inhabitants of Eu- 
rope almost 400,000,000 dwell in the countries at war. Almost 
ten per cent, of these, or 40,000,000, are under arms, and of 
these again ten per cent., or 4,000,000,^ are probably already 
put out of action. These are numbers with which all the bat- 
tles of the Roman Republic might have been fought. 

A little more than ten per cent, of Europeans still live in 
neutral countries. But these seem so fascinated by the domi- 
nating vision of this all-pervading death that they, too, are 
yearning to enter the war, though, of course, only under the 
most favorable conditions. An intoxicating enthusiasm for 
war is running through the countries, as at the time when 
Peter of Amiens screamed his deus lo volt out into the world 
and made of it for two hundred years such a madhouse that 
finally even the children went forth to war. The shrill pipe 
of the rat-catcher is once again blowing its lure, and this time 
it is not pro Deo: it is pro patria. Mankind is always ready 
quickly to carve for itself a god or an idol. But never before 
have 400,000,000 rats fallen into the snare. 

If it was possible for such an unheard-of fury of war to rage 

1 Since this was written, this number has doubtless grown much 




throughout all lands, it was quite to be presupposed that 
our conception of right and honor would be turned into ridi- 
cule, that our differently understood love of the fatherland 
would be treated as high treason, and that our belief in hu- 
manity would be reviled as folly. Only too clearly do we 
feel the destroying effect of aloneness, the opposite of mass 
feeling. We are in the position of the little ant which is 
left to fight companionless within a hundred paces of her nest. 

Our point of view, because it is shared by few, seems to us 
for that very reason already discredited. It is of little use 
to gird ourselves in the pride of a deeper understanding and 
to wait for justification by the future. It will surely come 
when once the headache has followed the intoxication; but 
for the present we feel abandoned and lost. The vital force 
of the temporary majority is so overwhelming that it seems 
almost impossible to hold one's own against it. There are 
very, very few men for whom the rat-catcher blows in vain, 
who go through life wise and unmoved, like children or very 
old people. But even they are not to be envied, for very 
often it is just they who secretly yearn for once to participate 
in the folly of all mankind. 

These are the men who stand apart, or rather walk apart, 
for it is just they who are making progress. They may have 
^een anointed with a drop of democratic oil, and they may 
have been in the habit of regarding the impulses of a people 
as possessing in their general tendency a valuable capacity 
for evolutionary development, however misdirected this po- 
tentiality may be in individual instances. Such a man must 
almost despair, for it must seem to him as if this impulse of a 
people toward war damned utterly his unwarlike ideals. 

The *' thousand good Europeans" of whom Dostoievsky^ 
once spoke are proof against all the fair and foul words of 

1 Dostoievsky, "Ein Werdender," Book III, ch. VII. These twenty 
pages contain some of the most beautiful things ever said by a writer 
about the coming European patriotism. I cannot very well quote them, 
and I do not wish to disfigure them by condensation. But every one 
should read them. 


love of one's country and treason toward one's country. They 
know very well the value of this patriotism of the beer- 
garden, money-chamber, and school-bench. They know very 
well how easily a people is moved, crying **Hosanna!" one 
day, and ''Crucify !" the next. They are not afraid of being 
called men without honor and without a country. But when 
the dark hours of doubt come which must come to every one 
who goes his way alone, the question again and again arises 
whether he as an individual man has the right to stand out 
against an entire people, or whether, after all, there is not, 
perhaps, a certain value in quantity, and even if right were 
a thousand times over on the side of the individual man, 
whether ultimately the emotional outburst of 400,000,000 is 
not worth more than the reason of a single person. 

Is, perhaps, a people as a whole permitted to commit what- 
soever follies it pleases? Perhaps it is one of the legitimate 
properties of group of humans that regards itself as a nation 
to put without punishment its emotions in place of its reason. 

A dog may eat whatsoever it wishes; only a whip or a 
larger dog can keep it from doing so, never reason or law. 
It may be that human beings when they act in large groups 
still move on the level of dogs and are permitted to follow 
their inclinations provided the larger cannon of the opponent 
do not prevent them. 

Why, then, this seemingly purposeless struggle? Why 
make oneself ridiculous and even undergo perhaps the risk 
of imprisonment? And yet there are people who, despite 
all these very good reasons for faint-heartedness, feel the im- 
perative impulse of courage. They consider it necessary to do 
and say certain things even if they cannot conceal the fact 
from themselves that it is to no immediate practical purpose. 
They would rather act absurdly than dishonestly. They feel 
the right and the duty to declare themselves and to defend 
their own individuality. If a person has this right, perhaps 
a people also has the right and duty to defend its own legiti- 
mate individuality against every one. 


§ 122. — The Restriction of the Personality 

This is, in fact, the case, and is often difficult to decide both 
in a people and in an individual man whether individualism is 
legitimate or not. But the very conception of individualism 
seems to imply that each one may wear it according to his 
own taste. If no judge superior to the will of the person 
or of a people is recognized, this would indeed be the case. 
In general, however, a person ordinarily believes that reason, 
at any rate, must not be neglected. Otherwise the deviation is 
called not legitimate individualism, but illegitimate insanity. 

We know both from the past and the present that insanity 
may affect large groups of people and nations. The dancing 
mania and St. Vitus dance, the children's crusades, and the 
suicide epidemics in ancient Kome and present-day Kussia, 
the witchcraft trials and many other things, are counted by 
modern science as cases in point, as were also the sadistic orgies 
of the Koman circus and the self -torments in medieval cloisters. 
Every generation was always very liberal in this respect and 
always very much inclined to designate as insanity any hostile 
belief. This is meant not only figuratively, but literally. 
Heathendom once looked upon Christianity as a form of in- 
sanity, and when Christianity became dominant, it in its turn 
looked upon modern heresy as an insane delusion. Even 
in the last century (it is true, at a period of the worst 
reaction) a medical student wanted to offer as his graduating 
thesis a dissertation entitled, De morho democratico, nova 
forma insanice. It was only due to Rudolph Virchow's oppo- 
sition that a German university was spared this extraordinary 
doctor's thesis. 

To-day people are very much inclined to interpret the war 
passion of the enemy as insanity. We in Germany were able 
to observe this at our leisure in the case of Italy. Ten months' 
experience in war had taught us. We recognized that the fear 
of spies, persecution of foreigners, overstraining of the censor- 
ship, poetic war rhapsodies, grandiloquent national pride, 


in short, ^*the whole outward show of war enthusiasm," really 
belongs in a lunatic asylum. In order not to appear ridicu- 
lous, for the present in the eyes of their enemies and later, 
no doubt, in those of the world at large, nations should temper 
their capacity for enthusiasm by the employment of reason. 

In Germany it is customary to distinguish two kinds of 
reason pure and practical reason.^ This distinction is per- 
haps the most characteristic German quality. It would not 
be wholly incorrect to call *' Germany the nation of divided- 
ness produced out of itself. ' * By this I mean not only political 
dividedness, but also intellectual and moral. 

But more of this later (Cf. § 134). For the present we 
shall discuss this twofold reason only in so far as it offers us a 
means for separating legitimate individualisms from those 
that are unwarranted. All difficulties ultimately arise from 
the fact that one reason prohibits some particular individual 
quality that according to the other is permissible. Man, the 
unhappy creature \t ith the two reasons, does not know what to 

This difficulty was not invented by Kant; at the most he 
merely formulated it anew. The belief has always been com- 
mon that there were two ways of viewing the world, but they 
were not both designated as ** reason." Either we might 
try to understand it in accordance with our reason or we 
might comprehend it with love. The logical side of this was 
of principal concern to science, and the emotional side chiefly 
concerned religion, which by force of the feelings have at- 
tempted to arrive at some world view complete in itself. 

Modem philosophy since the time of Socrates has tried 
to mediate between the two, but necessarily failed in the at- 
tempt. The latest and greatest attempt at a mediation of 
this sort was Kant^s. In a certain sense we may designate 
this as final. 

Kant meant to show, and in reality did show, that no true 
mediation was possible between these two ways of viewing the 

1 If we include judgment, there are three. 


world, provided, of course, that we once had become cognizant 
of them. This is quite self-evident. That in his later years 
he tried again to deny this contrast, which in a certain sense 
he himself had created, merely shows the instinctive hunger 
of mankind for an all-embracing explanation. In his sublime 
system of antinomistic philosophy he showed that these two 
world views were simultaneously possible and simultane- 
ously necessary. Since they are also simultaneously contra- 
dictory and irreconcilable, a bit of metaphysics must be 
dragged in, and in the mystical concept ^ of personality, the 
inapprehensible synthesis finds its completion. 

This attempt failed, as is to-day probably generally admit- 
ted. At any rate, the practical difficulty remains as to which 
of the two intuitions at any given moment is the legitimate 
one. Let us grant that in the case of freedom, God, and im- 
mortality the standard of decision should lie in the primacy of 
practical reason (basically, that is, of the emotions) ; and, in 
the case of mathematics, the primacy of pure reason. Never- 
theless, there is an extensive real world between God and 
Pythagoras. Where it belongs we must seek to discover in 
each individual case. 

This rather inadequate result is what might have been ex- 
pected. If we recognize two kinds of reason as simultane- 
ously independent, there naturally can be no real permanent 
primacy. It must change just as an attentive host, who has 
two men of equal rank as guests, serves first alternately the 
one and then the other. 

A decision can be had only if we recognize as a judge some- 
thing that is higher than these two individual principles. 
Kant knew no such higher judge, and could not know one, 
for according to him the human spirit is something inviolable, 
and in a certain sense something which cannot be discussed. 

1 A concept is called mystical because it seeks to combine things which 
are of themselves incompatible. Such a concept can become real only 
if we can prove the existence of a new concept of personality. Person- 
ality must be primarily complete; its completeness must not be sec- 
ondarily constructed. 


He found in it these two irreconcilable principles, which he 
necessarily had to regard as innate ideas. It is a proof of 
the strength of his intellect that he did not try to explain 
away these things by hair-splitting, at any rate not in his 
** Criticism of Practical Reason," He put them side by 
side, hard and direct, as things of reality are. 

For us, in this sense, at any rate, inexplicable things no 
longer exist, because there are no longer inborn qualities. All 
these inborn ideas under the weight of which science formerly 
dragged itself along have to-day become accessible to analysis 
in accordance with evolutionary theory. We know that two 
living beings, however disparate they may be, can always be 
joined if we go far enough back in the evolutionary series. 
There is always a point where the origins of these divergent 
evolutionary series meet in a single trunk. This applies to 
organisms and organizations as well as to the functions of life 
which are built upon them. 

Our psyche did not spring complete from the head of Zeus 
like the fully armed Athene. It slowly and gradually de- 
veloped in accordance with those laws and forces to the com- 
bined effort of which she ultimately owes her almost imper- 
ceptible origin (cf. § 163). 

These laws consequently precede all human reason, and are, 
if one so will, above it and higher than it. At any rate, we 
must take our bearings in accordance with them if we are 
to decide which of the various possibilities of thought is legiti- 

In Kant the idea of evolution had not yet become a living 
force, though in many ways he anticipated it. For him, 
therefore, certain phenomena had to remain unexplainable. 
As a fruit is unexplainable when certain characteristics of 
the flower are unknown, just so the characteristics of the 
human spirit in its present isolated completion remain dark 
and obscure. 

The prevalence of a rational view is to-day so firmly estab- 
lished that it seems at least possible to trace back all the high- 


est ideas which fill mankind to things which can be rationally 
understood. This disposes of the question with which we 
started out. Virtue and the capacity for enthusiasm are not 
isolated domains of themselves ; they are subject to the control 
of the general laws of a thinking reason. Virtue , like every ^ 
thing else, can he taught 

§ 123. — The Primacy of the Reason 

This idea of the unique primacy of the reason is very an^ 
cient. Even the primitive man exerted his reason to the 
utmost. He preferred to invent spirits and dryads rather 
than to relinquish the employment of the law of causality. 
This belief was a vital element in fair Hellas. Socrates, the 
most splendid representative of the clear soul of Greece, an- 
nounced the dominance of reason over all metaphysics even 
before that word was invented when he said that virtue can 
be taught. 

We have no wish to preach a belief in authority, but we 
are happy to know that we are in harmony with this type of 
wisdom, for the "wise Socrates" is the only one to whom the 
infallible instinct of the people has given this title of honor. 

Socrates not only declared that virtue could be taught, 
but he also indicated the way by which it could be learned 
when he called attention to the old Delphic words **Know thy- 

Virtue can he taught, hut only through self-knowledge. 
This settles the subjective aspect of the matter, for there is 
no virtue which is identical for all. Every virtue, like every- 

1 Socrates himself never in this way brought into direct association 
with each other these his two most famous sayings. It would lead too 
far atield were we to show in detail that in all his works he supports 
this point of view, especially in reference to civic virtue and in reference 
to the memory of a previous existence. Every one will be surprised 
at the modernity of this ancient Greek if he puts in place of the Socratic 
conception, "memory of a previous existence," the modern conception of 
an inherited predisposition. These two conceptions are fundamentally 
Identical, and hence it is quite appropriate to claim the designation 
"Socratic" for the explanations which follow. 


thing else, is dependent upon the individuality of the one. 
But this subjectivism has its limitations. There is an objec- 
tive and general principle of virtue that plainly proclaims 
that it is impossible for a virtue or even a characteristic to 
develop if the rudiment of it is not present in us. 

Out of this natural impossibility grows a positive demand. 
All men should recognize as clearly as possible the powers and 
potentialities that lie within them and develop them to their 
highest perfection. The individual man should consider how 
or by what means he can accomplish a maximum achievement 
and best serve mankind. Shall he, if he has skilled hands, 
become a goldsmith or a mechanician ; or, if his eyesight is 
sharp, a seaman or a huntsman; or, if he has intelligence, a 
man of science? This rule of virtue seems nothing more 
than the homely wisdom of the ancient proverb, ** Cobbler, 
stick to your last, ' ' and Socrates often enough has been called 
middle-class. But people forget that Socrates adds, "Perfect 
thyself. ' ' By this he means a cobbler who indeed sticks to his 
last, but who in the sense of to-day founds, let us say, a shoe- 
factory. This example can likewise be transferred into the 
ethical sphere. The modern Socratic theory of evolution does 
not require a man to remain permanently in the place where 
a rational or irrational destiny has placed him; rather, it de- 
sires a man to seek out his place in the world in such a way 
that it will have meant progress to him. 

In other words, man, too, is subject to the law of evolution. 
A person, a people, or mankind at large under its compulsion 
can accomplish something worth while only when they do it 
in the direction indicated to them by their hereditary mass, 
or, as Socrates calls it, their memory. 

In the section on positive and negative selection (§ 29) 
we have already shown that this inescapable direction is, as a 
matter of fact, present, and that it is the only objective scale 
by which we can determine the value of all events and all en- 

Let us grant that for the rest of the world, both animate and 


inanimate, such a natural compulsion also exists, but there it 
is not called virtue. 

Man, indeed, has the possibility, as has been shown in § 30, 
of raising himself above this natural compulsion, because 
he can lay aside his implements. He can do this only in so 
far as he uses whatever existing forces there are ; he cannot 
create new forces in himself. He can build machines and 
other aids for himself, but he cannot augment indefinitely 
within himself his capacity for building machines and aids. 
If a man has a special talent for mathematics, he cannot volun- 
tarily transform this talent into one for writing good poems; 
and vice versa, the best poet, however much he tries, cannot 
become a good mathematician. But every one has the capacity 
to stimulate by intensive effort his inborn capacities to their 
highest point. The Goethean phrase that one-sidedness alone 
can produce a master has become a commonplace. But this 
means exactly the same thing as when Socrates says that vir- 
tue can be taught through self-knowledge. When every one of 
us follows his inborn laws,^ he in his way best serves mankind. 

§ 124. — Natia7is as Individual Units 

What has been said applies to each one individually, but 
in a still higher degree to people in general. The latter are 
naturally more conservative, and it is more difficult to turn 
them into a new direction, because this requires a uniform 
variation of the majority. This, however, occurs only in 
very rare cases. Even the most many-sided nation can and 
will accomplish useful things only in the direction which 
.conforms to its genius. A nation which attempts all things 
exhibits not virtue, but dilettantism. 

This principle of the division of labor, which from our 
present view of nature we accept almost as a matter of course, 
was vaguely foreseen by the genius of Socrates. It supplies 
the bond between individualism and objectivism; it permits 

1 That is the daimon of Socrates, the Holy Spirit of the Bible, the 
hereditary mass (germ-plasm) of science. 


unlimited individualism, but trains it in the direction of the 
most useful socialism. 

Nations doubtless are individual units also in a certain sense. 
In the preceding chapter we have tried to show that a common 
home and a common level of civilization produces common 
traits among the individual units of nations, which in their 
totality and similarity constitute the individuality of a nation. 
If a nation consists predominantly of people who are predis- 
posed toward mercantile pursuits, it will be a commercial 
nation. Such a nation would act wisely if it stimulated these 
potentialities as far as possible. It may be sure that this 
will result in the greatest advantages for itself and for other 
nations. It is an absurdity (or in the Socratic sense a non- 
virtue), if a man who has a natural aptitude for stone-cutting 
studies jurisprudence. In the same way, it is as a matter of 
course a non-virtue if a nation specially endowed in some 
particular direction turns its aspirations into an entirely 
different field. 

People, indeed, speak of a harmony of nations, and under- 
stand by this the fact that each one of the nations in its way 
gives the best that it possesses. To what purpose would it be 
if the English should set up the pretension of wanting to 
teach the world music; or the French, quiet comfort; or the 
Finnish, mathematics; or the Tatars, painting? There surely 
are many things which are not inherent in a particular nation 
and which it cannot master; but every nation brings some 
particular gift that may be acceptable to all. 

It may be objected that one-sidedness in the long run is 
injurious, and that one might very well remain a master in, 
one's particular field without of necessity having to put aside 
all other things. That this is not true in the case of in- 
dividual persons is to-day generally admitted. The very two 
men who are usually regarded in Germany as the two greatest 
Germans have taught us this. Goethe showed this theoretic- 
ally when, as has already been stated, he said that without 
one-sidedness no one would become a master; and Bismarck, 


practically, who, as is well known, deliberately refused to 
loiow anything- about subjects which did not concern his pro- 
fession. Among all novels he was fondest of ''Die Familie 
• Buchliolz, ' ' ^ and, if 1 am not mistaken, he declared that 
Anton von Werner's pictures were works of art. Goethe, in- 
deed, did not always follow his own advice; he painted, and 
occupied himself with the study of physics. Apart from the 
fact that the great outlines of the man appear in all his 
works, his pictures are not particularly distinguished, and his 
theory of colors is incorrect. It is erroneous for the very 
reason that he was an artist, and did not wish to see the law 
running through the variegated manifoldness. He was on 
the contrary interested in. each individual plienomenon. 

The lack of one-sidedness certainly has never led to the 
highest achievements. Let us admit that those with an ency- 
clopedic knowledge are often pleasant companions, and that 
journalism also is an occupation. But whoever is not merely 
looking for entertainment must prefer the one-sided, and this 
even more especially in the case of a nation. 

In the case of an individual man we might excuse a tempo- 
rary trying out of this and that by the fact that he must test 
out whatever potentiality there is in him in order that his 
best qualities may not be stunted. There is no such danger 
in the case of a nation, for it can try out its powers in quite a 
different fashion from the individual man. While each person 
must follow his own personal destiny, a nation, on the other 
hand, tests itself from within to discover those things which 
are suitable for the average members of this nation ; that is, for 
the people as a whole. In a nation nothing can become 
stunted. Even if something is destroyed in thousands of its 
citizens, it will continue to live in thousands of others. Since 
they will be successful, their mode of action will be imitated 
and become law. Far more than for the individual man it is 

lA famous German novel of lower middle-class life in Berlin, by 
Julius Stinde. A condensed English version by E. V. Lucas has recently 
been published under the title "The Hausfrau Rampant."— Translator. 


necessary for a people as a whole to follow unalterably the way 
which has been indicated by the past. It is in this direction 
only that progress can be made, and for that reason it is 
important clearly to see the way, for then, and only then, 
will progress be more rapid. Every attempt arbitrarily to 
seek out new ways can only delay progress. 


§ 125. — The Excellences of Individual Nations 

Just as a person should be possessed not with selfishness, 
but with self-reliance, not. with haughtiness, but with pride, 
so it is with nations. Just as the individual man, on the basis 
of his definite inherited qualities, and on the basis of his 
destiny and education, can almost always produce certain 
things which no one else can imitate, so it is with nations, 
and even in a much higher degree. 

There are billions of human beings, and in each of the 
civilized nations of the present day there are millions of hu- 
man beings. Schleriden once said that no leaf was exactly 
like another; so, too, each human being in all these millions 
has some particular quality which makes him appear unques- 
tionably unique as a personality (cf. chap, xiv, 4). Yet, in 
view of the very large number of human beings, these differ- 
ences cannot be very great, and fiuall3% in reference to the 
practical utilization of the individual for the benefit of the 
totality, every human being can be replaced. It is different in 
the case of nations. Owing to the fact that all human beings 
included within them have usually grown up under approxi- 
mately similar conditions, each person has received a certain 
common impress. This impress we may regard as the peculiar 
quality of the particular nation. 

There are at the most a dozen of these civilized nations. 
Not one of this dozen is indispensable. It would be vain to 
believe that any single nation exists which is superior to all 
other nations in religion as well as in art, in science as well 


as in politics, in technical progress as well as in commerce; 
in short, in every human sphere. Can French wit be replaced 
by English comedy or German humor; or vice versa f Would 
we want to do without a Faraday because wo have a Helmholtz, 
or without a Lamarck, because a Darwin was born? Can 
Bismarck replace Napoleon, or Washington replace Crom- 
well? Jesus of Judea and Francis of Assisi can as little be 
left out of the Christian religion as Luther, the German, or 
Tolstoy, the Russian. The German Mathias Griinewald saw 
the Good Friday tragedy from a different angle than the Flem- 
ish Rubens, and Mantegna, the Italian, saw it differently from 
Greco, the Spaniard. But who shall say which vision was 
the deepest? The decision is just as impossible as is that 
whether the grapes of Burgundy, the Rhine country, or Spain 
produce the best wine. All these things, like Russian caviar, 
the char of the Konigsee, the amber of East Prussia, and 
much else, are specific products of a particular country, which 
flourish nowhere else. 

In an industrial way also each countrj^ may be notable for 
certain special products. The silk of Lyons, the linen of 
Silesia, the calicos of England, the furs of Russia, are, or at 
least were, famous. 

It is true that industries may change, owing to certain tech- 
nical advances in dift'erent countries. Thus once the Damas- 
cus blade was the most famous, while later that of Toledo was 
regarded as the best. It is true that in many fields of in- 
dustry Germany need not fear comparison with other nations, 
but that is no reason why we should forget the nations which 
were our teachers in these matters. Something will always 
turn up again, even if it is only temporarily, in which they are 
in advance of us. Let us think for a moment of the appli- 
ances of modern intercourse. Automobiles came from France, 
the aeroplane from America, submarines and wireless telegra- 
phy from Italy. 

Certain particular products are always procured from 
abroad, as, for instance, Lumiere plates from Lyons, tabloids 


from England, gumboots from Russia, and straw hats from 
Italy. Some things are bought abroad because we do not 
care to produce them at home ; other things because we cannot 
produce them, not for lack of raw materials, but because in 
certain respects the technical skill of other countries has pro- 
gressed further. Many countries of a younger civilization 
have already caught up with Germany in many respects, and 
perhaps even have outdistanced it. It would be idle to make 
specific comparisons as to what certain nations do better than 
others. America's extraordinary achievements in the field of 
machine construction (instruments of precision and in elec- 
tricity) are perfectly obvious. 

As the individual man long since has been unable to make 
a living without the help of others, so nations have also be- 
come interdependent. Above all, it would mean impoverish- 
ment if each nation would not gladly learn and receive from 
every other. It is regrettable that in recent times the mischief 
of crediting every invention to some particular national in- 
ventor has become more and more prevalent. Yet this is at 
most harmless vanity ; it would be worse if every invention had 
to be invented a dozen times over. 

§ 126. — The Excellences of Their Defects 

All this is so self-evident that Guizot, though he wrote the 
history of European civilization entirely from the French 
point of view, nevertheless says of civilization: ** Though in 
general it is relatively uniform in the different countries of 
Europe, it is nevertheless infinitely diverse, and complete in 
no country. Its elements must be sought now in France, 
now in England, now in Germany, and now in Spain. "^ 

This diversity amid relative uniformity is still to-day the 
most patent fact. The question of the justification of an ex- 
clusive patriotism does not deserve discussion among sober 
thinkers. No one but a madman would do away with the total- 
ity of nations to put his own solely in their stead. 

1 Oiiizot, "Histoire de la civilisation en Europe." 


In addition to its excellences, every nation has its defects. 
The English are bigoted and stubborn, the French are vain 
and fickle, Spaniards are proud, and Hollanders are phleg- 
matic; the Turks are indolent, and the Corsicans vengeful, 
the Russians drink, and the Germans love titles and liveries; 
the Cretans lie, and the Greeks cheat, the Americans put their 
feet on the table, and the Chinese spit. 

All these things are proverbial, even if they are not always 
appropriate; nations, nevertheless, usually have other and 
serious defects — the defects of their excellences. There is 
hardly a single good quality which does not also have its 
shadow side or disadvantage. Whoever is very philanthropic 
cannot be economical; whoever has made goodness the prin- 
ciple of his life cannot always follow the dictates of wisdom ; 
whoever makes a god of success cannot embody within himself 
the finest flower of civilization; and much more like this. 

The Semitic race, for example, is predisposed toward tran- 
scendental dialectics and ethical legislation. In it was incor- 
porated at an early period the relatively purest expression 
of the idea of God. It forbade the making of an image of its 
God, and so put art under the ban. It would have stoned 
Phidias, the sculptor of divinities, as Emil du Bois Reymond ^ 
once said. So it is everywhere, and every nation has its good 
and bad qualities, each necessarily conditioned by the other. 
For this reason a nation usually cannot put aside its defects 
without simultaneously losing its excellences. 

The possession of all excellences is contrary to the economic 
law which runs throughout all nature. Even if the desire 
to achieve mankind's crown may be the best part of us, every- 
thing cannot be accomplished with Faust's words, *'I will." 
A Mephistopheles always comes and whispers in our ears that 
we cannot. 

Alle edlen Quahtiiten 
Auf euren Ehrensclieitel haufen, 

1 Emil du Boia Reymond, Uber eine Akademie der deutschen Sprache 
(."Concerning an Academy of the German Language"), p. 11. 


Des Lowen mut, 

Des Hirsches Sehnelligkeit, 

Des Italieners feurig Blut, 

Des Nordens Dau'rbarheit, 

Laszt ihn Euch das Geheimnis finden, 

Groszmut und Arglist zu verbinden, 

Und Euch, mit warmen Jugentrieben, 

Nach einem Plane zu verlieben. 

Mochte selbst solch einen Horren kennen, 

Wiird* ihn Herm Mikrokosmus nennen.^ 

No one who has recognized this actual impossibility will 
believe that all good qualities are combined in his nation, 
neither will he blame another nation because he discovers 
ignoble qualities in it. On the contrary, he will rejoice in 
goodness and beauty wherever he sees it, and he will ulti- 
mately arrive at the Goethean wisdom, and be able to say even 
of foreign nations: 

Was je ihr gesehn, 
es sei "wie es woUe, 
es war doch so schon. 

(Roughly : Whatever ye have seen, be it what it may, it neverth^ 
less was beautiful.) 

1 Wear the crown, and show it, 
Of the qualities of his creation, — 
The courage of the lion's breed, 
The wild stag's speed. 
The Italian's fiery blood, 
The north's firm fortitude! 
Let him find for thee the secret tether 
That binds the noble and mean together, 
And teach thy pulses of youth and pleasure, 
To love by rule, and hate by measure! 
1 'd like, myself, such a one to see : 

Sir Microcosm his name should be. — Bayard Taylor's trans- 
lation, "Faust," Sc. IV. 



§ 127. — German Civilization 

It is difficult to grasp the spirit of a people. We must base 
a judgment not upon a single person, but upon a vast number. 
We must select not what would be characteristic for one per- 
son, which would be relatively simple, but the characteristics 
of something of a hitherto unknown greatness ; that is to say, 
of a people. 

This has never been completely successful. What sense is 
there if the farmer philosopher Hermann Cohen ^ declares 
that ''the peculiarity of the German spirit lies in its combina- 
tion of rationalism and idealism; all mysticism is un-Ger- 
man'*? And his colleague Lasson ^ says exactly the opposite, 
stating that, ''the mystic trend is the most inherently Ger- 
man.'* Or again Lord Haldane^ says that the German acts 
"in accordance with a concept," in contrast to the English- 
man, who acts "in accordance with an idea"; whereas Scho- 
penhauer * implies exactly the opposite when he writes, ' * the 
Englishman believes in the abstract concept of justice, while 
the German is a friend of the to him current idea of equity. ' ' 

There is another interesting contrast. The lectures given 
by Cohen and Lasson during the course of the war seek to ap- 
propriate all the noble qualities for the German. Schopen- 
hauer and Lord Haldane, on the other hand, seek to praise 
the foreign nation. In general the man of education is 
likely to overestimate the foreigner, because he also under- 
stands that which is different. If Germans formerly carried 
this to a further degree than the English, it was a national 

1 Cohen, "Kriegsvortrag*' ("Lecture on the War"). 

2 Lasson, "Kriegsvortag" {"Lecture on the War"). 

3 Lord Haldane, "Great Britain and Germany," Oxford Address, Au- 
gust 3, 1911, in "Universities and National Life," 3rd Edition: London, 
ini2, p. 112. 

4 Schopenhauer, "Cber die Grundla«?en der Moral" ("The Foundations 
of Morals"), III., § 17. FrauenstUdt's Edition, vol. IV., p. 222. 


virtue, which in the highest measure was the envy of all edu- 
cated foreigners.^ 

It would be easy to extend the list of national virtues which 
counterbalance one another. German flunkyism and love 
of liberty have been supported by equally good reasons. Ger- 
man faith and the gratitude of the house of Hapsburg 
are both proverbial. The belief in the purity of the German 
woman has not kept them from accepting a fallen girl 
{Gretchen) as her ideal type. Only very few, as Kolliker,^ 
for example, have noticed this conflict at all. 

Precise definitions of this nature are usually too narrow in 
view of the unlimited diversity of civilization. Just as we 
cannot describe a face, but have to paint it, so, for instance, the 
picture of German civilization becomes clearly perceptible 
only when we think of certain definite men like Goethe and 
Kant, Keppler and Helmholtz, Beethoven and Mozart. It 
may be held that these are exceptions. Let us, then, view 
such things as German philology and esthetics, German chem- 
istry and optics, German steel and electrical industries. 

The German is unquestionably entitled to regard these 
things as unique products of civilization. They cannot be 
omitted from the civilization of mankind at large. If a civi- 
lization could be based upon or overthrown by wars, the 
crudest war itself would be worth the price for their sake. 
But in addition to this right the German has the duty to con- 
sider whence this civilization really derives. 

The Germaii spirit did not just happen to drop from the 
moon. It can be accounted for in, and owes its origin to, a 
very definite terrestrial environment. No other nation can 
ever repeat the distinctive features of this development. 

. 1 Karl von Holtei in "300 Briefe aus zwei Jahrhunderten" ( "300 Let- 
ters of Two Centuries") : Hanover, 1872, vol. 2, p. XVI., once aptly said, 
"To me the highest degree of education of a nation lies in the fact that 
it enables its men to recognize adequately the value and meaning of other 

2 7<:olliker, "Goethea Faustschlag ins Gesieht der deutsehen Sittlich- 
keit" ("Goethe's Blow in the Face of German Morality"); 


They are based on the unique combination of circumstances 
that Germany formed the center between older civilizations. 
It received stimuli from all sides, and was able to develop the 
highest degree of civilization even before it was politically a 
nation. Just because all the barriers, conditioned by a politi- 
cally important role, were absent, the German was able to ac- 
chieve his world-embracing universality. And no one can 
deny that this is, or at least was, the peculiar quality of his 

§ 128. — Originality 

Gladly and gratefully all great Germans have tried to digest 
and elaborate within themselves the totality of the civilization 
of their period. Even if no nation is thinkable without for- 
eign influences, this is especially true of Germany. Its civili- 
zation is so deep and glorious and original just because it is 
not autochthonous, but embraces all the world. 

Richard Wagner was one of the first to maintain this. In 
respect to German music, which is the German soul laid bare, 
he said, *' German genius seems destined to search among its 
neighbors for that which is not inborn in its motherland, 
but it carries this beyond its narrow limits, and so creates 
something universal for all the world." 

This is particularly true of Bach, the founder of German 
music. He lived under the pressure of a narrow middle- 
class life, and hardly saw anything beyond his Thuringian- 
Saxon home. Nevertheless, his point of departure was not in 
the folk melodies of his country, as it was the case with artists 
of other nations when they created their national music. He 
was a ti-ue German. Laboriously he gathered what was best 
from all the world, and created with it the art that is most 
characteristically German. With tremendous industry he 
studied ^all the material at hand, Italian vocal and violin 
music, as well as French instrumental music and opera (espe- 
cially the orchestral suites), and also whatever was musically 
valuable in the Netherlands and England* He acquired all 


these things to make them his own. On their basis he created 
works which were already distinctly German, though in ex- 
ternals (gigue, air, saraband, etc.) they still showed the old 
forms, and in many occasional pieces suggested very m>Lich the 
Italian manner. Out of this he created ultimately new forms, 
like the cantata and the German passion play, and finally 
the Prussian (or, as it has also bem called, the '^Frilzian") 
fugue, his most characteristic contribution to music. But 
even in this fugue there are distinct reminiscences of Italy and 
France; **he merely combined in himself the advantages of 
the French and Italian masters*" ^ 

It is generally known that the same thing is true of Mozart, 
and no one will contradict Wagner who said of him, *'He 
was a German who raised the Italian school to the ideal of 
perfection, and in this way gave it universality and ennobled 

The same thing applies to German philosophy, which is the 
second distinctively German branch of endeavor. It is only 
necessary to point out that Windelband used almost the same 
words of it that Wagner used of music. "Kant," he says in 
his well-known ' * History of Philosophy, " ^ ' * has made his 
own the various motives of thought of [foreign] philosophical 
literature, and from the way in which they supplemented one 
another worked out from them an entirely new conception." 
Kant depends equally much upon German popular philosophy, 
the psychological analysis of the English, and the honest liber- 
alism of the French. He mentions as the special inspirers of 
Kant, Wolf among the Germans, Hume, Newton, Toland, and 
Shaftesbury among the English, and Rousseau and Voltaire 
among the French. 

The same thing might be shown in reference to all other 
arts and sciences. German Gothic architecture and German 

1 Spemann, "Goldenes Buch der Musik" ("Golden Book of Music"), 
chap. 328. 

2 W. Windelband, "Geschichte der Philosophie" ("History of Philos- 
ophy"), VI., 1, p. 418 et seq. 


niiiinesong have their roots in France, but they reached their 
highest development on this side of the Rhine. If this ulti- 
mate completion was denied to German painting, the essential 
reason probably is that it failed of a harmonious working out. 
German painters, with certain exceptions, remained "copy- 
ists of the Italians," or they could not rise beyond the gro- 
tesque of the German fifteenth century.^ 

In general Schlegel ^ is correct when he says of the German : 

Was in Kunst und Wissenschaft 
Freumder Himmel Grosses schafft, 
Ward von ihm alsbald erkannt, 
Wuehs so machtiger seiner Hand. 

(Roughly: Whatever of greatness foreign skies have created in 
art and science, he recognized at once, and in his hand it mightier 

The narrow exclusiveness that to-day so eagerly and noisily 
loves to pose as patriotism is particularly unbecoming to the 
German, because in his case it has the effect of particular 

German dependence on what is foreign has surely often 
been carried too far. For this reason, though Germany has 
been a power with which the world had to reckon for at least 
fifteen hundred years, it has never, as Dostoievsky once said, 
given the world a "new word.'' The German has either made 
the foreign a part of himself or he has protested against it. 
He destroyed ancient Rome, and later the new Roman-Catholic 
world idea, and he has put nothing in their place. Dostoiev- 
sky ^ develops this thought into an overpowering vision. He 
writes that in the future something exceeding strange might 
perhaps occur. It is this, that some day when Germany has 

1 Cf. the chapter on "National German Art" in Muthor's "History of 
Painting," vol. II. 

•J Fr. V. Schlegel, "Gedichte" ( ♦'Poems"), p. 334. 

« DostoicvHki, "Drei Ideen" ("Three Ideas") in the January issue of 
the "Grazdinin," 1877. 


destroyed everything against which it has protested for 
nineteen centuries, it will suddenly have to die spiritually 
itself soon after the enemy, simply because there will then 
be no longer a reason for its existence. There will be nothing 
left against which it can protest. No one who is not wholly 
blind can easily escape the demonic terribleness of this idea. 
There surely is a grain of truth in it, and the present day 
shows all too clearly the greatness of the danger. 

But Dostoievsky was in error when he thought any nation 
could or had the duty to give the world a new idea. Dostoiev- 
sky hopes that it may be Russia. The world is too large and 
has become too diverse for this. If any nation of the present 
day desires to do something essentially important for the fu- 
ture, it must teach the world to see its own many-colored di- 
versity and it must put it to good account. 

This is just what Germany can do. The same instinct which 
made the German somewhat contemptible as a protestant in 
the world of conflicts will make him welcome as a mediator 
in a united world. 

This is what all good Germans have long since expected and 
hoped for. 

§ 129. — The Period of German Greatness 

One of the first to grasp this clearly was, as always, Goethe. 
He called the "fatherland talk of the Germans," which began 
after the Wars of Liberation, a disease that produced an at- 
mosphere in which we * * daily wasted away like a consumptive 
with uncertainty, and merely to live and manage to get along 
had to lie to ourselves in the most miserable way." ^ Goethe 
is so unhappy over this decay of German greatness and is so 
anxious to save any precious universal spirit that he makes the 
almost fantastical proposal *'to scatter the Germans like the 
Jews throughout all the world, for only abroad are they 
bearable." ^ 

1 Goethe, letter to Zelter, August 24, 1823. 

2 Letter of W. von Humboldt to his wife, November 17, 1808. 


In order to estimate this proposal at its right value, we 
should remember that Goethe stood above nations and con- 
ceived himself as a European, not with his reason, but also 
with his emotions, which is more important. For this, too, he 
has given us the decisive test in his demand that we ' ' feel the 
good fortune or the woe of a neighboring country as though it 
had happened to our own. ' ' ^ Just as Christ does not mean 
to exclude a legitimate egoism when he says, "Love thy neigh- 
bor as thyself" (for only a madman can love another more 
than himself), so according to Goethe we are to love other 
nations like our own. If something happens to our own, it 
comes first. At the same place Goethe says that, of course, 
though he * * did not hate the French, who are among the most 
civilized nations of the world," he nevertheless thanked God 
''when we had gotten rid of them." 

Now, many may object that Goethe did not have any sense 
of patriotism. It is therefore important to point out that 
Schiller felt exactly the same in this respect. He surely has 
described in glowing enough colors the patriotic yearning for 
liberty of enslaved Switzerland and of occupied France. Even 
to-day it is still a favorite theme for school essays to show how 
''the Maid" prepared the ground even in Germany for the 
awakening of patriotism. 

This latter may have been actually the case, but it is not so 
in Schiller's sense. Schiller recognized the distinctive quality 
of the German spirit just in this that, in contrast with the 
spirit of other nations, it was not nationally restricted. 

Wo der Franke, wo der Britte 
Hit dem stolzen siegerschritte 

(Roughly: When the Frank, when the Briton with proud vic- 
torious step.) 

Dare the German, he once asked,^ now determine our 
destiny, still be proud of and take joy in his name? Yes, 

1 Goethe, "Conversations with Eckermann." 

2 Schiller, "Entwurf zu einem Gedicht" ("Draft for a Poem"). 


he dare do so. He may leave the battle in a wretched 
state, but that which gives him his true worth he hsis not 
lost. The German Empire and the German nation are two 
separate things. The German has created his own worth, and 
even if the empire should fall, German honor would remain 
unassailable. It is an ethical greatness, indwelling in the 
civilization and character of the nation, and is not dependent 
on its political fate. As the political realm trembles, the 
spiritual one has gro»wn larger and larger.^ 

In these words there is a clear recognition of the fact that 
German originality can be explained only by the political im- 
portance of the German Empire. And exultingly he adds that 
Germany will be victorious when morals and reason are vic- 
torious and when rude force yields to form. 

Who can seriously deny that we might be at least as proud 
of such a victory or even prouder, without indicating a lack 
of modesty, than France is of Austerlitz or England of 
Trafalgar ? 

AH German civilization-patriots hoped for such a victory. 
It was held to be quite impossible that Germany could pos- 
sibly lose its world-embracing idealism. Jean Paul merely 
expressed the opinion of his time when he said, "It is not 
possible for us many-sided Germans (as it is for the French 
and English) to hold our eyes shut and to feel nothing of 
Europe except our own eye ; it is impossible for us so to limit 
our view." 

Nor was this alone the opinion of our classical writers of 
1813; the romantic writers after 1813, when it was already 
clearly apparent whence the road was leading, felt this even 
more. It was toward such a victory that the enthusiasm of 
the old students' associations (Burschenschaften) was di- 
rected, and Herwegh's German song was meant for it. He 

1 Of the more recent Germans, Moritz Carri^re, for example, says 
"Wechselbeziehungen deiitscher und italienischer Kiinst," ("Interrela- 
tions between German and Italian Art," Breslaii, p. 5), "What Germany 
lost in external power accrued to its advantage in art." 


believes that through modem technical improvements (the 
** German fiery chariots") a homogeneous European civiliza- 
tion will become possible, and with proud patriotism he calls 
upon his people: 

Wenn alle welt den Mut verlor, 

Die Fehde zu beginnen, 

Tritt du mein Volk, den Volhern vor 

Lasz du dein Herzblut linnon! 

Gib uns den mann, der das Panier 

Der neuen Zeit erf asse, 

Und durch Europa brechen wir 

Der Freiheit eine Gasse.^ 

(Roughly: When all the world lose courage to begin the strife, 
stand forth, thou my people, at the other people's head, and let 
your heart's blood flow. Give us the man who will seize the standard 
of this new time, and let us through Europe breach a road for 

In general at that time the fatherland was conceived as a 
humane, ethical figTire. It is characteristic that two thirds 
of the patriotic songs in the common German students' song- 
book give expression to the desire for liberty. At that time 
all endeavors in the direction of the realization of a unified 
Germany were identical with the general striving of nations 
for liberty and progress. In those happy days the German 
ideal and the ideal of mankind were bound up closely with 
each other. 

But matters took a different turn. Forgotten was the beau- 
tiful song which Treitschke said was so often sung when he 
was still young : 

1 Georg Herwegh in 1841 published " Gedichte eines Lebendingen" 
("Poema of a Contemporary"), which were were republican or lilieral 
in tendency and extremely popular. In 1847 he raised a German 
democratic legion for the invasion of Baden and the establishment of 
a revolutionary government there; but failing, he fled to Switzerland. 
He translated several of Shakspere's plays. — Translator. 


Wenn die Deutschen Deutsche werden, » 
Griinden sie das Reich auf Erden, 
Das der Welt den Friesden giebt.^ 

(Roughly: When the Germans German will become, they will 
establish the realm upon earth which will give peace to the world.) 

But '*we no longer feel as simply as that." And yet the 
old saying, by force, force is overcome, is to-day no longer as 
absolute as it was. If there is one thing certain in this world, 
it is the fact that a people to-day can win victory only when it 
concentrates all its forces upon the peaceful competitive strug- 
gle between nations, and when it strives to become a force that 
will bring peace to the world. The time has come when crude 
force no longer will decide, but the capacity for civilization. 
There is no question that Germany was far in advance of all 
other nations in this respect. It would have been only neces- 
sary to wait ; and the ripe fruit would of its own accord have 
fallen in its lap. 

The country was then always conceived as some great 
human moral force, and it is characteristic that in the case of 
two out of every three patriotic poems in the "Universal Book 
of German Drinking Songs" the note is a longing for liberty. 
All the efforts then made to bring about a united Germany 
were identical with the general efforts of nations toward lib- 
erty and progress. In those happy days the German ideal and 
the ideal of humanity were inseparably bound up together. 
Then came the time when everything changed, and the fine 
ballad that Treitsehke ^ tells us was often sung in his young 
days was forgotten: 

1 H. V. Treitsehke, "Zum Gedachtnis des groszen Krieges" ("In Mem- 
ory of the Great War"), §28. This "truly German" is already found 
in the earliest German novel in Grimmelshausen's "Simplizissimus" (III, 
4) : "Of the German hero who would conquer the whole world and 
establish peace among the nations." 

2 Heinrich von Treitschke's "Zum Gedachtnis des grossen Krieges"' 
("In Memory of the Great War"), p. 28. This "genuinely German" 
idea occurs in the oldest German novel, in Grimmelshausen's "Sim- 


"Wenn die Deutsehen Deutsche werden, 
t Griinden sie das Reich auf Erden, 

Das der Welt den Frieden gibt." 

("When the Germans become Germans, then will they found that 
empire upon earth which will give the world peace.") 

''Such innocent thoughts are ours no longer.'* Yet the old 
saying about force being overcome by force is no longer alto- 
gether true ; and if one thing is certain in this world it is the 
fact that the only way in which a people can conquer to-day 
is by concentrating all its strength on peaceful competition 
between nation and nation, and endeavoring to attain a posi- 
tion from which it will be able to give the world peace. The 
time has come when brute force no longer decides, but capacity 
for civilization. 

§ 130. — German Adaptability 

It can easily be shown that what underlies Germany's 
progress is adaptability. The German virtue of being inter- 
ested in other countries besides Germany, which makes Ger- 
mans virtually citizens of the world, accounts for the fact 
that Germany is the birthplace of comparative esthetics and 
philology as well as of scientific geography. A century ago 
we in Germany already possessed the best geographical jour- 
nal, and we still have the best maps and atlases and most 
descriptions of travels. It is owing to the German's desire 
to become acquainted with the literature of all nations and to 
his knowledge of foreign languages that Shakspere, Ibsen, 
Tolstoy, and Brandes are better loved and perhaps better 
understood than anywhere else in the world ; that we have a 
Shakspere Society and a Dante Society, and ten English books 
are translated into German for one German book which is 
translated into English. Just because the German has ab- 
sorbed all the world's ideas and deepened them was it pos- 

plizissimus" (III, 4). "Of the German hero who overcame the whale 
world and will establish peace among all nations." 


sible for a Luther to succeed a Huss, a Kepler a Galilei, a 
Helmholtz a Faraday, and a Kant a Berkeley. How much 
do we not owe in Germany to the conceptions of such genuises 
as Darwin, Jenner, Lister, and Pasteur? Yet in all their 
special branches of science we in Germany have now pro- 
gressed at least as far as the countries where their discoveries 
were made. 

The special qualities which in the ideal Germany the in- 
vestigator and the man of art or letters used to benefit in the 
Germany of ideals still benefit the technician and the com- 
mercial man in the material Germany of to-day. Our techni- 
cal science is capable of picking up ideas everywhere and of de- 
veloping them. Hardly had Marconi discovered wireless tele- 
graphy than the Telefunken (Wireless) system was working 
admirably. France may for a time have been ahead of us in 
the construction of motor-cars and aeroplanes, but our techni- 
cians have long since caught up with her. We did not invent 
submarines, but at present ours seem to be the most serviceable. 

Our commercial men proved no less adaptable. Unlike 
British merchants, they did not compel ^ foreign nations to 
learn their language, but learned the language of those with 
whom they wished to trade. Again, they did not try to force 
their goods on the foreigner, but manufactured whatever spe- 
cial articles each country needed. Even in quite minor mat- 
ters, such as fancy goods and light fiction, we readily took the 
vast number of hints which we picked up all over the world 

1 Not literal compulsion, which England has hardly ever applied in 
such a case, but the much more effectual negative and passive resist- 
ance, which, being based on incapacity for acquiring anything foreign, 
could naturally never be laid aside, and for this very reason irresistibly 
forced others to learn English. Precisely because we do not pos- 
sess this innate passivity, we resort to measures of compulsion which 
must of necessity fail. Time was when any one was glad to be able to 
speak German in Petrograd, Brussels, Warsaw, Triest, Budapest, Copen- 
hagen, Prague, and Strasburg, Tliis encouraging symptom, noticeable 
at the beginning of the nineteenth century, became almost automatically 
changed into its opposite since we attempted to force Germanism upon 
the world. 



wherever we turned. In short, there was nowhere anything 
that we did not turn to good account. 

Thus did the German adapt himself, and because of his 
having done so, Germany has progressed until in a sense she is 
now the most up-to-date nation in Europe. Her originality, 
in short, consists, as already said, in the lack of a certain 
kind of originality,^ that kind which might be called provin- 
cialism. And for that future which is to unite all nations to- 
gether nothing augurs better than this. The modern ** nihil 
me alienum puto^' is absolutely incompatible with the old idea 
of originality. It was the proud aim of our approaching vic- 
tory to be able to say, knowing what it meant and that it was 
true, ** nothing human is foreign to us.*' 

It may not be without interest to recall the fact that such a 
genius as Dostoyevsky, in his political writings and in his novel 
*'Ein Werdender,'* lays claims to these qualities on behalf of 
Russia, alleging that owing to her being still comparatively 
primitive, she had preserved the power of assimilating foreign 
civilizations. That primitive people are capable of much in 
this respect has certainly been proved by Japan, which in an 
incredibly short time has assimilated first Chinese and then 
European civilization. This may perhaps have been a good 
thing for Russia and Japan, but not for the world and for 
civilization in general. 

The Russians have also improved and developed foreign 
inventions and ideas, but in so doing have as yet achieved 
nothing of world-wide importance. This is not meant as a 
reproach, but merely as the statement of a fact. It may be 
that Tolstoy will mean something to the world to come, but 
then it would be only his own actual experiences which would 
survive, not anything based on some one else's experience. 
Any Russians who have been devoted to foreign literature and 

1 Dr. Nicolai uses the word "originality" in two senses. In this case 
it has more the sense of the French "ww original," an eccentric person. 
Nothing is more difficult to render than an English word with a Ger- 
man tail and an umlaut or two thrown in.— Translator. 


ideas have never risen to a great height. The Germans alone 
have grown really great on *'a foreign foundation." As Sir 
William Ramsay is said to have unfortunately remarked, 
**They do not steal from foreign nations," but adapt from 
them, transform what they have adapted, and then return 
it as something new and improved. Let us hope that this was 
what Sir William Ramsay meant. At any rate, once the hyp- 
notic effects of the war are over, this is the sense he will attach 
to his words. In a century in which modern means of com- 
munications have literally enabled men to unite together, this 
German capacity for continued and wide-spread development 
and improvement, capacity which no one seriously denies, 
would have made central Europe also the center of Europe. 

§ 131. — Overstraimng of Adaptability 

The future of Europe, indeed perhaps of the world, seemed 
within our grasp. And we threw it away because — well, 
simply because we also have the defects of our qualities. 
**Can be done," indeed, and **must be done" often mean the 
same thing, and any one who can adapt himself as the Germans 
can must do so. It is this with which the Germans are re- 
proached, or, rather, it is this with which they usually re- 
proach themselves. They have not the stubborn tenacity of 
the Englishman, who gets a footing everywhere and his Eng- 
lish civilization with him. They are easily swamped in a 
foreign nation, and they like what is foreign. Readiness to 
learn and capacity for learning foreign languages lead to 
fondness for using foreign words; and as we did not trouble 
much about trifles, we did not consider it absolutely essential 
to have fashions of our own. 

There was no harm in all this, if also no particular good; 
and in any case it was of no real importance. Now, however, 
we are going decidedly too far in our adaptability, for we 
would fain adopt not only foreign virtues, but even foreign 
vices. In short, we are so eager to be like the foreigner that 
we shall end by being forced to throw overboard the root 


principle underlying our national habits. Other nations were 
political nations; we want to be so, too. They had colonies; 
we also want to have some. They were jingoes and nation- 
alists, and therefore we thought we must also be jingoes and 
nationalists. In short, because others are retrograde, we think 
we must become so ; and with the pious fidelity of copyists we 
are endeavoring out of the patriotic vanity of the French, 
England's obstinate isolation, Spain's national pride, and 
Russia's brutality to forge a coat of mail to cover up our 
former aspirations. It almost seems as if we had succeeded 
in this, and as if Theodor Vischer's lines had come true: 

Was der Corse begann, das hat der Marker vollendet; 
Rohe Gewalt fur Recht, ist die Parole die Zeit.^ 

This is bad, and however justifiably we may pose as victors, 
we shall not permanently succeed in making the world believe 
that we have done otherwise than surrender our most valuable 
possession and our most vital weapons, receiving nothing in 
exchange. No human being and no people can really suffer a 
sea change into something which, after all, they are not. 
It is with capacities as with good fortune; a man either has 
them or not, and whatever he strives to do against his nature 
and by mere force of will is never anything but unreal and 

Good patriots are becoming anxious about Germany now, 
and are casting a glance at the future; but they are doing so 
for the same reason as the Pan-Germanists are raising an out- 
cry. That is, they fear that Germany will not prove capable 
of asserting her own individuality. But, then, they do not 
consider that her individuality consists in brute force, but 
in plastic intelligence. As long ago as 1873 Dostoyevsky ^ al- 

1 Friedrich Theodor Vischer's "Epigranune aus Baden-Baden," pub- 
lished anonymously in 1867, p. 27. Vischer was a German estheticist. 
("What the Corsican Napoleon began, the Man of the Marches [Bis- 
marck] jBnished; brute force for right is the watchword of the day.") 

2 "Thoughts on Europe," in Dostoyevsky's "Political Writings." 


ways far-seeing, feared some such sudden reversion. In the 
Russian periodical ^'Grazdanin'^ he wrote that it was clear 
that in Germany, after her recent triumph over France, the 
feeling of national self-sufficiency had such a pitch of absurd- 
ity that even science showed traces of jingoism. A year later, 
when this new tendency was actually noticeable, Emil du Bois 
Reymond, the well known Berlin physiologist, went still 
further. ** Thorough as we are in everything, ' ' he said, "let 
us beware against falling into the other extreme (of which 
there are numberless signs), and instead of being a nation 
which used to be likened to a book-worm, become so much ab- 
sorbed in politics as to be the least literary of all the great civ- 
ilized nations. ' ' ^ 

There is still more ground for this fear to-day. It is a 
tragedy that, just at the fateful moment when Germanism 
seemed destined to conquer, indeed it might be said to save, 
the world, we should risk losing the inheritance bequeathed to 
us by our great forefathers. Such hopes for the future 
transcend in importance anything in the past. The German 
historian Meineke may believe that ''the supposition that 
cosmopolitan and national conceptions harmonize" can be 
set aside because such harmony **was not always present," 
which no one denies. But the very notion of such a thing 
should spur us on to make every effort to be prepared for it, 
for come it must. All Germany would need to do would be 
to remember her old traditions, crystallized by Johann Eduard 
Erdmann ^ in the words, "To be merely German is anti-Ger- 
man. ' ' 

1 Address delivered before the Academy of Science by E. du bois Rey- 
mond, on March 26, 1874. 

2 "Das Nationalitiitsprinzip" ("The Principle of Nationalty") and 
"Ernste Spielfe" ("Serious play"), in J. E. Erdmann's "Collected Lec- 
tures." Fourth ed. 1890, originally delivered in 1862, p. 221. [Erd- 
mann was a German theologian and philosophical writer. "Ernste 
Spiele" are essays. His "History of Philosophy" has been translated 
into English.] — Translator. 



§ 1S2.— What Is Militarism? 

The word militarism comes from the Latin mileSy which in 
turn comes from mille (thousand). There is no trace of con- 
tempt about the word, as there is about *' soldier *' {Soldat), 
which means Soldner (mercenary) ; it merely signifies that 
a man is one of thousands, one of a number. There is some- 
thing in the word, as in the German word for army {Heer), 
which may be said to mean the same thing as people ; and in 
the form ** militia'' (Miliz) this meaning has been preserved. 
Yet now militarism is often used to denote only aberrations 
from the real meaning of the word; for instance, the fact 
that armed man lords it over a man unarmed. Those who 
use the word in this sense are thinking of officers' preroga- 
tives, of compulsory service and subordination, or of smart 
uniforms ; but they are also thinking- of a wide-spread organi- 
zation, working without a hitch, embracing in an astounding 
manner the forces of an entire people, and likewise of glory 
and contempt of death. In short, it is possible to read into 
the word militarism either a fine meaning or an evil one. 

All that concerns us is the sense originally attaching to 
the word, the belief that it is possible to achieve something in 
the world by means of a host numbering thousands, in other 
words by force. Militarism in this sense, therefore, is a par- 
ticular conception of the world. It is the belief that animal 
struggle, with fangs or cannon, can do more than human strug- 
gle with words and convictions. 

Now, there is not the slightest doubt that the overwhelming 
majority of Germans believe this, which is all the more singular 
because, as explained in Chapter I, all great Germans have 
hoped for the victory of reason and anathematized war. Now, 
this contradiction must be explained, and, if possible, traced 
to its one source. 

The Germans say that they make excellent soldiers simply 


because the German does everything best, and that this is a 
good thing. Other nations also say that the Germans make 
excellent soldiers, only they think that this is because people 
in Germany have been too much taken up with soldiering, and 
that this is not a good thing. It is clear that here again every 
one agrees about the main facts, and disagrees only as to the 
inferences to be drawn from them. 

Yet even here the disagreement is not hopeless, for probably 
no Germans, save for a handful of Hotspurs, believe that their 
martial qualities are really what is best in them to-day. The 
modern German, they say, can certainly fight well, just as 
he can do a great many things well ; but this does not prevent 
him from doing the work of peace as admirably as he would 
do it even were it no longer necessary to appeal to arms. Mili- 
tarism, in short, they say, is only a kind of outside husk with 
which German all-round capability has become overgrown; 
it is by no means the chief characteristic of German life, as 
fanatical German-haters think. Moreover, uniforms are only 
an outer cloak, put on for the time being, but afterward to be 
put off. Beneath this cloak is the real kernel of German 
civilization. The word ''civilization" is then more closely 
defined as meaning science, particularly chemistry, manufac- 
tures, especially iron constructions, trade, and more particu- 
larly ready-made clothing, organization, and above all obedi- 

Now, it is far from easy to decide in detail what is kernel 
and what is husk, for we have gradually come to realize 
that nothing in this world is due to mere chance. If Belgium 
has the densest system of railways and Denmark most news- 
papers; if most letters and telegrams are sent in England; 
if America has the most schools, and Bosnia the fewest; if it 
is Serbia in which the largest proportion of people are mar- 
ried and in Sweden the smallest — all this is no less significant 
than the fact that Germany and France have the largest per- 
centage of people belonging to the army or navy (ten and 
fourteen per thousand respectively), and America and Swit- 


zerland the smallest (one and five tenths per thousand respec- 

There is nothing in the world which does not matter, and 
everything which a human being or a people does is significant. 
The attentive observer will perceive, at any rate, the essential, 
origial cause for everything which the man in the street de- 
scribes as accidental, and thus come to see beauty even in what 
considered by itself, seems ugly. 

German militarism must be considered in this way; and 
then, even in this distorted form, the German ideal will be 
clearly perceivable; and we shall see the path which is lead- 
ing Germany to a nobler future. 

§ 133. — German Love of Liberty 

It has often been wrongly thought that by their insistence 
on civilization and militarism being one and the same thing, 
the Germans were attempting to justify one by the other or 
correct one by the other. In general all that is meant is that 
both spring from the same root. There are very few persons 
who do not realize that an upright man may have a brother 
who is a criminal ; and hence they think that if one side of the 
German is good, the other must likewise be so. Persons thus 
attempting to save their honor of course tend to be ridiculous, 
but after all such apparent opposites as militarism and civiliza- 
tion are really only different forms which, as a biologist would 
say, '^German substance'* can assume. To endeavor to trace 
them to a common source and reaUy to explain Clausewitz by 
Kant, cannot but be fascinating.^ 

All the peculiarities said to distinguish the German from 
other nations, whether advantageously or not, may probably 

1 See "Kants Finfluse auf die deutsche Kultur" ( "Kant's Influence 
on German Civilization"), by H. Cohen. Official address at Marburg, 
1883. Dumler: Berlin, p. 31. But Cohen did not go deeply into the 
question, and in order to overcome the difficulty of making the contents 
of the Peace Book agree with those of the War Book he makes the far 
from satisfactory statement that the one dealt with principles and the 
other was empirical. 


be traced to his strongly marked sense of individuality. In 
the most ancient times, as Tacitus tells us, this found expres- 
sion in love of liberty, and also in an umnistakeable thirst for 
vengeance, about which we find a great deal in the writings 
of the Roman historian Velleius Paterculus. Most of all, how- 
ever, it showed itself in excesses, a fact which both these writ- 
ers confirm. Kleist's superlatively fine description of the 
Battle of Hermann shows all these un-German characteristics 
in chaotic savagery.^ Purged of all impurities, they reappear 
in Luther's defiant saying, ^*Hier stehe ich; ich kann nicht 
anders." ^ The impression of German strength is merely en- 
hanced if we think of Galilei, that other great reformer, who 
likewise ** could do naught else,'* yet merely murmured, ^^Ep- 
pur si muove.'' Galilei's achievement may have been greater 
and of more permanent value for mankind, but Luther strikes 
us as having been humanly finer at that particular moment. 

The Germans of that day were a savage and self-willed folk, 
and tended to become still more so owing to the conditions of 
their country. Whoever wished to settle in Germany,, the 
land of forests, cleared a few acres for himself, and squatted 
down thereupon, not troubling about any one or anything else. 
It is characteristic that in a German village a house and its 
surrounding fields are quite complete in themselves, and 
that nowhere else in the world are there such straggling, and 
therefore such large, villages as in Germany. And as it be- 
gan with the house, so it continued up the ladder of social 
community. True, the free peasant farmers, except in Fries- 
land and the fen districts, were soon degraded into subjection. 
But every knight was free; in most cases he even exercised 
the lowest judicial functions, and could announce or renounce 
quarrels for himself and his men-at-arms. Then there were 
the free cities of the empire, the earldoms, and principalities, 
electorates and bishoprics; for since the Emperor Otto had 

1 Heinrich von Kleist, German dramatist of the Romantic school. 
The "Hermannschlact" was written in 1810. — Translator. 

2 "Here I stand : I can do naught else." 


played off the church against the principalities there were ec- 
clesiastical principalities even in Germany. 

All these miniature states had their own laws and their 
own coinage, and Germany has never succeeded in freeing 
herself from this absurd caricature of her quoiidam love of 
liberty. Had not the iron hand of the Corsican smashed up 
all this hallowed tomfoolery, who knows if we ourselves would 
have not laid hands on these relics of the Middle Ages? 
There is something in provincialism beyond doubt suited to 
German ways, like the countless associations which he loves 

Such was the people on whom the new era burst, with its 
social demands, first in the form of the doctrine of the broth- 
erhood of man, and afterward in the far more effective form 
of profitable commercial connections. 

§ 134. — Three Reasons why German Liberty has Taken a 
Wrong Turn 

When solitary human beings began to consort and associate 
together, first in Europe and afterward throughout the world, 
each individual family, clan, or tribe, as the case might be, 
could not, even in Germany, continue to insist on keeping to 
itself. In Germany, however, this new tendency encountered 
very peculiar conditions — conditions which have had a decisive 
influence on the subsequent development of German mentality. 

First, in Prussia, which then became the decisive factor 
in Germany 's history, a thin surface sprinkling of Teutons, or, 
more correctly speaking, Germans, ruled over a backward and 
consequently not easily led mixture of races consisting of Obo- 
trites, Sorbians, Varini,^ Wends, Pruzzi, Masurians, Kaschubs, 
Poles, Czechs, Lithuanians, and Letts, besides other Slav peo- 
ples. It was quite easy to maintain the comfortable position 
of overlords here, and the enslavement of the subject peoples 
made Prussia politically very prosperous. Hence the belief 

1 German Wamen, a Germanic tribe mentioned by Tacitus. — ^Trans- 


arose that this mode of government left nothing to be de- 

Secondly, the Renaissance, which caused a revival of liberty 
and civilization and culture in general throughout Europe, 
subsequently indirectly led to a diminution of the church's 
power in Europe. But in Germany, owing to her strong re- 
ligious bent, it all passed off in religious disputes; and the 
humanists properly so called never had much influence 
there. Hence in Germany all the liberalizing tendencies 
of the new era were from the very first driven into a 
side channel. Men were so taken up with religious liberty 
that they forgot there was any such thing as civil liberty; 
and so busy were they about spiritual affairs that they forgot 
all about intellectual matters. Above all, however, Germany 
got into the habit of considering the world on which she, after 
all, depended as something far away above the clouds, and 
anything **on this side" or "here below" as of small moment. 

Thirdly, in his comparative indifference with regard to ter- 
restrial concerns the German did not expect anything on this 
earth to be complete or perfect, and accordingly he frittered 
away whatever individuality he still possessed in all manner of 
absurd trivialities. 

Germany thus became the country of differences in rank. 
The nobility in all countries used, indeed, to lay great stress 
on questions of etiquette; but whereas in the rest of Europe 
the knights had ceased to have any importance as a separate 
class as early as the fifteenth century, in Germany they con- 
tinued a recognized class on into the nineteenth century. 
Moreover, ordinary citizens used to ape the nobility, gilds 
and corporations flourished, and every one endeavored to ob- 
tain some rank, position, title, or order, which would confer 
on him a distinction, albeit a trifling one, above his fellows. 

The ordinary Philistine, therefore, satisfied his yearning "to 
be somebody" by acquiring stars and titles, while the culti- 
vated German found satisfaction for his aspirations in philoso- 
phy, which accordingly began to develop along specific lines. 


Thus, while British and French philosophy turned increas- 
ingly toward practical questions, German philosophy became 
more and more abstract.^ What German genius needed was 
that in the free world of thought each person should be able 
to be a law unto himself, while in the world of hard facts he 
was forced to bow the knee to his superiors. A noteworthy 
instance of this is Kant, than whom no one followed a more 
independent line of thought and who yet lived in dependence 
on others. He who, as Karl Lehrs ^ says, wrote the Marseil- 
laise of philosophy, gave way afterward in theological ques- 
tions, and disavowed Fichte's doctrines so as not to incur the 
suspicion of atheism. Kant was then old, and therefore we 
shall not blame him, but only those who forced him to take such 
a step. 

It was Kant's philosophy and none other which decided 
Germany's future. In answer to liberty he brought forward 
transcendental idealism, and in answer to subjection empirical 
realism, urging that both transcendental idealism and subjec- 
tion were equally justified and equally necessary. We may 
think of this dual answer as we please ; we may urge that the 
question ought not to have been put so ; and we may also con- 
sider Kant or one of his followers to have succeeded in their 
attempt to bring about harmony by means of dialectics. The 
fact remains that in practice this "antinomy" ^ was treated in 
most un-Kantian fashion. Men learned to find in transcen- 
dental philosophy satisfaction for their aspirations after lib- 

1 F. A. Lange, in his "Geschichte des Materialismus" ("History of 
Materialism"), published in 1875, says, "Those countries which are the 
home of modern philosophy are turning to practical life, while meta- 
physics are left to Germany." Book 11, pp. 417-468 of this work are 
singularly interesting. 

2 "Die Philosophie und Kant gegenUber dem Jahre 1848" ("Kant 
and Philosophy about the Year 1848"), by Karl Lehrs, 1886. "Altpreus- 
sische Monatschrift," XXXII, p. 91. 

3 Antinomy is a Kantian term, meaning an apparent conflict of rea- 
son with itself. Thus it may be argued, apparently equally reason- 
ably, that the universe is infinitely vast and that it has spatial limits 
— Translator. 


erty, while in other respects they became politicians of the most 
material order. 

This crass inconsistency is the illegitimate offspring of the 
thrice-outraged Teutonic longing for liberty. Once it was 
outraged by being in the bonds of slavery, once by a Christi- 
anity that had become abstract, and once by misinterpreted 
transcendental philosophy ; and the inconsistency runs through 
the whole of German intellectual life. 

In fact and practice the German's notion of civilian liberty, 
a notion which had already had to suffer from the '* liberty of a 
true Christian,*' gave way for good and all to the ** intelligible 
liberty of a philosopher." In practice he became brutal and 
the reverse of free ; yet Germany, as far as thought was con- 
cerned, continued the freest, and, we may say with pride, the 
most humane country. 

^135.— '* The Absolute'' 

As this liberty, however, existed only as far as thought and 
ideas were concerned, and was consequently unlimited, it de- 
generated. Germany, to put it briefly, became the land of 
absolutism. It was believed that there was an absolute lib- 
erty, an absolute happiness, and an absolute knowledge. It 
was believed that a formula had been discovered by which 
men could be made free, happy, and wise even against their 
will ; and it is no mere chance that German philosophy should 
have produced dogmatic Marxianism, which advocated a fu- 
ture state to be absolutely governed, while at the same time 
German social democracy should be, generally speaking, the 
most faithful reflection of the German people, which is com- 
pounded of doctrinaire idealism and practical militarism. 

Kant believed that by setting up the categorical imperative 
of duty he could create a moral code which would be at once 
absolute and binding on all human beings alike. Later on 
Karl Marx hoped to endow the whole world with happiness 
and prosperity by first overthrowing it and then reconstruct- 
ing it on right principles. Similarly the Germans really and 


honestly believe that the world would be happy were it forced 
to do their bidding. We have carried organization to a high 
pitch, and we think the whole world could not but be content 
were it similarly organized. "Do or die" is a German pro- 
verb, and the pleasing saying, ''Well, if you won't be my 
brother, I 11 bash your head in" has become another German 

And the German thinks this is the receipt by which he can 
redeem the world. He may be wrong, but that does not alter 
the fact that this is his belief. This being the case, the Ger- 
man, although not really more uneducated or uncivilized than 
the Briton or the Frenchman, coolly comes along with his 
cannon and his bombs, having made serious preparations be- 
forehand for this as if it were the most important business of 
his life. 

A Frenchman will never understand this ; he is too frivolous 
and materialistic. He thinks that a dead man is just a dead 
man, an asphyxiating bomb is just an asphyxiating bomb, 
and so on; and he orders his life accordingly. But the Ger- 
man knows that behind both there lurks something else — an 
idea. In his opinion cannon and bombs are something where- 
with he is to pursue his civilizing mission; hence he plays 
with such things as innocently as children with crackers. 
The ideas lurking behind the things themselves are the excuse 
for everything, and behind the bombs every German seeks and 
finds what he wants to find. The Christian finds his God, 
the philosopher his Kant, the philanthropist his love of hu- 
manity, and the Philistine universal order; and the quint- 
essence of all these ''moral ideas" is always the same — the 
proud words, **We '11 give them a good drubbing." 

Led by force, the German has grown pious and good, rich 
and contented, and because he has learned to believe in the 
absolute, he thinks that whatever is good for his own country 
must also be good in itself and can in time be thrashed into 
people. Besides this, Germany has become great because 
from everywhere she has taken what is good, and therefore 


she would only be paying a debt of gratitude by forcing her 
virtues — order and organization — upon others. The one 
thing she overlooks, however, is that no one can endure to 
accept such gifts unless of hf§ own free will. 

Here we have certainly an instance of strange things com- 
ing to pass; and even if the direct introduction of German 
order into Belgium meets with difficulties, yet Germany is in- 
directly, perhaps even against her will, forcing the whole 
world to organize after the fashion of the Germans. The 
world sees that German organization has answered well in 
war, and it tries to imitate it. A very great deal will cer- 
tainly be organized on German lines. After the war we shall 
see whether this is a good thing or not, for with foreign na- 
tions likewise working their hardest, the only result can be 
that the German will have to work even harder than before 
in order to keep up with the keener competition. It may be 
very salutary, but it is none the less regrettable that five 
million people had to die in order that this result may be 
brought about in Europe by militarism. 

Still more regrettable is it, however, that, in order to achieve 
it, German humane aspirations should have become so much 
misdirected. The fact must certainly not be ignored that 
worship of success and lust of power have had something to 
do with the rise of what we call Prussian militarism, yet this 
cannot be of more than secondary importance. The main 
and decisive cause seems to me to have been misdirected hu- 
mane aspirations which, the Germans, anticipating events, 
wanted to create that world-organization the necessity for 
which is obvious ; only, unfortunately, they wanted to do this 
not by the power of reason, but by that of force. 

§ 136. — Bethink Yourselves! 

There is a wonderful picture by Anselm von Feuerbach,^ 
* ' The Battle of the Amazons, ' ' which hangs in the Nuremberg 

1 1829-1890. Feuerbach represents modern German classical paint- 
ing. — Translator. 


picture gallery, but has never taken the fancy of the public, 
to whom it seemed too lifeless to represent a battle. Yet 
every fiber is brimful of the truest life. Men and women are 
seen interlaced in an extraordinary manner, and it is impos- 
sible to say whether this is due to love or hatred. Thus a 
boy is shown kneeling before a woman. Is this because of 
her beauty, or was he knocked down by a passing horse? 
Both sides are holding back their weapons and looking each 
other in the face, and if they lift them up now, it will be in 
love. Then in the center two are embracing each other as in 
the very ecstasy of love, and yet in their hands an ax and a 
lance are flashing. In the foreground lies a maiden mortally 
wounded, but her outstretched arm is holding back the man, 
even as a woman might seek to detain the husband hastening 
to leave her after the nuptial night. And on all sides are 
yearning looks, enraptured gestures; everywhere, in short, 
love, which seems turned to hatred, and which is in reality 

I could not help thinking of this picture when our merry, 
laughing German youths left for the front. They did not 
hate the enemy, as did our ill-advised intellectuals, and they 
loved the world throughout its length and breadth ; and with 
this vague love of the world and of mankind in their hearts 
they went forth to battle. 

In order to understand how cruelly hard these gentle souls 
have become * * at the front, ' ' I was forced to think of Kleist 's 
Penthesilea.^ He, too, shows how closely akin is love to hate, 
and the extremes to which misguided love can go. Penthe si- 
lea, the love-sick Amazonian woman, is determined to possess 
Achilles, but dazzled by false pride, she marches upon him, 
surrounded by her yelping dogs, with her elephants and all 
the pomp and circumstance of glorious war. And yet 
Achilles was willing to surrender voluntarily to her. 

1 Heinrich von Kleist, German romantic dramatic writer. "Pen- 
thesilea," pub, 1808, is one of the plays by which he is still remembered. 
— Translator. 


Even so the German Army, with its 42-centimeter Morsei-s, 
its asphyxiating bombs, its poisonous gases, and its submarines, 
is marching upon the young world that is ready to accept and 
believe the old German legend of the humanity of man. 

Penthesilea murders the youthful son of the Gods, and dies 
as a result of having done so. But we do not wish the young 
divine idea to die, nor yet that Germany should perish. There 
is still time; therefore, ye Germans, bethink yourselves! Be- 
think yourselves of your own selves I 


1. — overcoming pessimism 

§137. — Germany's Mission 

That men must and do associate with one another no one 
will deny. The only question is whether their association is 
best promoted by fighting one another or by helping one an- 
other, and whether love or hate, unselfishness or selfishness, 
right or might, prevail or ought to prevail in the w^orld. 

No human being is so utterly devoid of all humanity as not 
to fancy, at any rate in his best mood, that it is permissible 
to believe in such things as right and unselfishness, love and 
mutual aid ; but afterward away he goes and acts as if he did 
not believe in them at all. Indeed, he does not believe in 
them as realities, but in his haughty infatuation imagines they 
are some ideal creation of his own, something which can ac- 
cordingly be laid aside at will as soon as it is no longer com- 
patible with practical politics. Now, there is nothing on 
earth more contemptible than practical politics when they 
conflict with idealism. 

Germany, as I hinted at the beginning of the last chapter, 
is here in a peculiarly difficult position. She dreams herself 
into a moral world, and appeals to the idealism of a man such 
as Kant, and she acts in a tangible w^orld and pursues prac- 
tical politics after the manner of such a man as Bismarck. 
The gulf between these two, however, seems still bridgable. 
But Kant degenerated into Cohen ,^ and Bismarck into Bern- 

1 It is characteristic that Cohen should be almost of the school of 



hardi ; and just because the German has conceived the loftiest 
possible conception of morality did he depart from them ut- 
terly in practice. Perhaps, indeed, he could not do otherwise. 
Whoever endeavors to square the circle, very easily manages 
to forget even his rule of three. 

Nevertheless, efforts which in themselves have no prospect 
of success are scarcely ever quite in vain. Thus when it be- 
came impossible to find a rational expression for numbers, the 
new science of irrational numbers arose. Similarly, idealism 
was not in vain. Thus, when it became impossible to act 
morally on the basis of idealism, the duty arose of seeking 
another basis of action. If Kantian Germany, without being 
false to her name, became imbued with ''practical politics'^ 
to the very marrow of her bones, this merely proves that we 
are not meant to expend our energies in expressing pious as- 
pirations, that the most magnificent castle in the air can 
never hold out against terrestrial attack, and that morality 
based on ideals simply has no solid basis. 

The collapse of idealism, which became manifest in 1914, 
must be our justification for seeking some such solid basis. 
This collapse occurred just when all discerning persons 
considered it an intellectually incomprehensible anachronism ; 
for this very reason it has proved more forcibly than any 
past event that the ordinary idealistic morality is wholly in- 
adequate, since it failed to make its followers act morally. 
This applies to Kantian and Christian morality alike, whether, 
as Kant will have it, morality is to be compared only with the 
star-spangled heavens, or whether, as the church teaches, it 
is above the heavens. 

No nation in the world has more cause to set off in quest of 
this new earthly morality than Germany, for none has set up 
such high moral pretensions. It may be, however, that those 
who ascend to great heights must first be profoundly abased. 
Jena may have been necessary that Leipsic might occur ; and it 
may also have been necessary to declare that right was a scrap 
of paper in order that mankind might be induced to seek some 


better guaranty. Were this to be so, then even this war 
might be something which future generations would gladly 
remember as the birth-throes of a new society, which, as 
Browning put it in **By the Fireside," ''forwards the gen- 
eral deed of men," rightly thinking that in so saying he has 
said the most that can be said of any event. 

Perhaps, however, no people in the world is so well adapted 
as the Germans to discover this new social order, because of 
the training they have received from two such contradictions 
as "Kant's idealism and Bismarck's practical politics," both 
of which collapsed in this war because there was no connection 
between them. We may now consider it Germany's future 
work to reunite these apparently incompatible characteristics 
of hers, which have already been shown to be of common 
origin; but to do this work she must shake herself free from 
the vague and indefinite aspirations forced upon her from 

That this is possible and that firmly fixed ideal, based on 
solid facts, are conceivable, it is the purpose of the present 
chapter to prove. This natural morality, as it might be called, 
will one day become a reality ; and it seems as if its day were, 
so to speak, predestined to dawn in Germany. And this not- 
withstanding the events of the last half-century, but because 
of the peculiar temperament of the Germans themselves. 
Then Germany, that terra nehulosa in which the sun can yet 
shine with such wondrous clearness, will have fulfilled her 
mission, per aspera ad astra. That mission does not consist 
in sending calico to Bagdad, but in giving the world peace. 
It may, I grant, seem foolhardy to cherish any such hope in 
the midst of the unparalleled horrors of this war, and many 
persons will rather incline to agree with Heinrich Mann,^ 
when he took as a motto for his book, ''This nation is hope- 

Still, it is better to be optimistic than in too great haste to 
abandon our only hope. Even I fully admit the immense 

1 Contemporary German writer. — Translator. 


power of those who have made the progress of a whole nation 
center round the sale of calico in Bagdad; and I, too, am 
well aware that self-knowledge cannot be attained save in a 
hard school. But somehow or other it will come to pass that 
the German again becomes German, and in another fifty years 
there will again be a Germany that realizes her own true 
sphere, and whose pride is in her own characteristics and not 
in her armaments. 

For at all times it has been believed, even by those who have 
not ''dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,'* that 
the war-drum must one day throb no longer and the battle-flag 
be furled, '* 

In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world. 

There the eommonsense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe, 

And the kindly eaii;h shall slumber, lapt in universal law. 

§ 138. — The New Empire 

Some semblance of justice, indeed, is weaving and working 
in all this murder and horror. It all depends whether we can 
see this semblance. Man to-day lies bound upon the ground, 
with the war vultures devouring his vitals. But man to-day 
need be no less optimistic than his prototype, Prometheus 
bound, whom nearly two thousand five hundred years ago 
-^schylus made say that, as his mother Themis had taught 
him, the day must come when might would be overcome and 
wisdom prevail. 

Prometheus, it is true, is not yet unbound, and the Titans 
and the Forces of all still bid him defiance; but we may con- 
sole ourselves with the reflection that even the oldest tragedian 
possessed this optimistic belief. For the secret of Prome- 
theus^ is no cabalistic or magic formula, as the Scholastics 
used to believe; rather is it the triumphant faith in that 
future when 

1 Prometheus knows a secret, and Zcvs is ready to free him if he re- 
veals it. Prometheus, however, is silent, feeling assured that even 
without this he will be set free. 


The man remains, — 
Sceptreless, free, uncircumscribed, but man; 
Equal, unclassed, tribeless, and nationless, 
Exempt from awe, worship, degree, the king 
Over himself; just gentle, wise; but man. 

Time was when the gods were a savage, primeval folk, and 
their ** peace" was based only *'on dark Fate's perpetual 
night"; that is, not upon free understanding, but on natural 
compulsion, which is independent of all personality. Yet per- 
sonality prevailed, first, because of the selfishness of tyranni- 
cal Zeus,^ who represented the age of selfishness and war in 
which ^schylus lived. But this was only a transition stage, 
and Fr(mieilieus, who endowed the world with the beginnings 
of all science and all art, all technical knowledge and all civili- 
zation, knows that these forces will overthrow the kingdom of 
selfishness and self-will, and that the conception of humanity 
will then prevail. To symbolize this conquest of self, Pro- 
metheus is to be free if another, out of pure love of man- 
kind, descends into Hades and sacrifices himself for Prome- 
theus; that is, for mankind. 

We have not yet reached this point. War still goes on, 
but peace will come. That is the secret of Prometheus. As- 
suredly he will be free: Either Zeus will learn to understand 
the sacred mystery, and then he will voluntarily break his 
brother's bonds in sunder, or he will never learn to honor 
Mother Themis.^ Then will ^'Zeus be hurled from his 
throne," and Prometheus will receive *'his freedom, long de- 
sired and long delayed." 

What is marvelous about this Prometheus legend of ^schy- 
lus is the instinctive faith in the progress of mankind — a faith 
which produces that optimism which is ever casting a glance 
forward toward the future. 

1 iEschylus says that Zeus "by the force of will has founded a new 
kingdom in. the domain of the gods." 

^ Themis was wedded to Zevs, to whom she bore the Flnrw. She 
personifies law and order, and was worshiped as a goddess of prophecy. 
— Translator. 


§ 139. — Natural Bight 

The pessimist sees nothing but a meaningless **up and 
down" and *' hither and thither" in history, which is to him, 
as to Schopenhauer,^ merely a series of events, a nightmare 
of the human race, without any sort of system. Yet we may 
proudly say, even although the actual basis in fact for such a 
conception has but lately been supplied by recent natural 
science, that almost all mankind have always been optimists 
hitherto, and thus unconsciously adhered to the conception 
of evolution. Except for Schopenhauer, after all only a single 
person, and the Sophists, all serious thinkers have held it 
true that the world might rise on stepping-stones of its dead 
self to higher things. Despite their imperfect knowledge, a 
certain definite scheme of evolution could be traced. They 
actually believed in the prevalence of a law which was grad- 
ually bringing us nearer to an ideal, and, however widelj?- their 
opinions may otherwise have differed, all sought what they 
desired in right. All followed after Heraclitus, that wise man 
of old, who proclaimed that what nations had to do was to 
fight for the right. 

Unhappily these efforts have taken two different directions. 
Those which have extended in the so-called idealistic direction 
have endeavored to bring about a spiritual kingdom, the king- 
dom of God; the others, those with a material trend, have 
endeavored to bring about social evolution. But instead of 
mutually assisting each other, these two tendencies have op- 
posed each other; and what is now needed is to unite them. 

Since Heraclitus and ^schylus proclaimed struggle and 
promised victory, mankind has taken a considerable step for- 
ward. True, as Deussen says, we see even now that the 
*' principle of the right of the stronger, which has been dis- 
placed in the individual countries, is the only one still pre- 

i"Die Welt als Wile imd Vorstellung" ("The World as Will and as 
Idea"). By Arthur Schopenhauer, 1819. Vol. I, § 35. Cf. also the 
same work, Vol. II, Chap. 38. 


vailing between one country and another.^ But between man 
and man tbe goddess of law and order has prevailed, and, at 
any rate in principle, the ''right of the stronger has ceased 
to exist. '^ 

To this we must hold fast, for any one considering the his- 
tory of nations really might think that to look for justice 
upon earth is looking for Utopia. Everywhere it is ^^Vce 
victis*^ — **Woe to the vanquished"; again has Brennus ^ cast 
his sword into the scales of Justice, and the Old Testament 
words, ''the law is slacked," still hold good.^ 

How comes it, then, that man has nevertheless persisted in 
believing in eternal rights, in love of his neighbor, in altru- 
ism, human dignity, and whatever all the other ways may be of 
stating the fact that man respects every other man as being 
one of his own kind ? From time immemorial it has been a 
disputed question whether this principle of right is naturally 
existent in us as an element in our souls, as it were, or has 
arisen in us, so to speak, artificially, having been agreed upon, 
owing to reflection and the dictates of reason. 

For thousands of years this question has been discussed 
without any one ever having asked whether this "communion 
of men" may not perhaps be a function of their physical 
constitution, and therefore an actual demonstrable fact. 
Were this so, it would of course be absurd to describe right as 
man-made. On the other hand, to say that it is implanted by 
nature or God in men's souls is the same thing as instinctively 
recognizing that it is subject to laws which are, after all, 

i"Die Elemente der Metaphysik" ("The Elements of Metaphysics") 
by Paul Deussen, 2nd ed., p. 233 f. by Paul Deussen. The writer adds, 
"From this may be inferred how immature our race still is, for it may 
be probably certainly foretold that the time will come when we shall 
look back on war as a horrible piece of barbarism belonging to long-past 
dark ages." 

2 The leader of the Gauls must be meant here, who invaded Greece 
in 279 B. c. He and his men were checked at Thermopylse, then devas- 
tated Mtolm, and advanced on Delphi, but were completely defeated 
when Brennus killed himself. — Translator. 

5Habakkuk 1, 4. 


independent of our personal desires and superior to all human 

Here again it can be seen how wisely and unconsciously 
justly mankind in general feels; for except for a short pe- 
riod when the Sophists taught that right is not anything 
natural, but only something agreed upon, — that is, established 
by man, — every one has believed in a divine or innate right, 
— that is, a right independent of any human will, something, 
as it were, impersonal and yet a fact. Socrates in particular 
insisted that if there were no absolute right, then there never 
could be any right at aU ; and if we reflect upon this, it seems 
and is so self-evident that since Socrates 's time no one has 
questioned this principle. Only in one respect do the post- 
Socratic philosophers differ from their master, very unfortu- 
nately for them. They forgot that in the meantime- the 
<f>v(n^ had been replaced by the /acto <f>v(nv, that which lies be- 
hind nature. Men ceased to perceive the primeval cause of 
everything absolute in Socrates 's simple natural facts, and 
thought it needful to take refuge in the metaphysics of Aris- 
totle or even of the latter 's inferior successors. Thus what 
was subsequently proclaimed as ^'natural right'' had nothing 
to do with nature, but was, on the contrary, metaphysical 
right, which had come about by human ordinance. 

Once we have recognized this misconception, the question 
inevitably arises whether the time-honored difference between 
Socrates and his opponents does not vanish if we simply trace 
back absolute right to absolute natural laws. I believe that this 
is so. There is an absolute right, based upon the conception 
which natural science proves true, that mankind is an organ- 
ism; and hence this right is no less absolute than mankind 
itself. (Cf. Chap. XII.) This must suffice for us, for none 
can penetrate beyond his own race and the natural conditions 
to which it is subject. But if mankind once realizes the neces- 
sity of this absolute right for the human race, then will it have 
understood the secret of Prometheus. Then will pessimism 
be overcome, and the vision of Christ be a reality. 


§ 140. — Right and Cosmopolitamsm 

But even if we reject all metaphysical basis for right, we are 
nowise entitled to consider the efforts of two thousand years as 
having been of no avail. Natural science did not then exist, 
and to develop the idea of right, it was unquestionably of most 
importance to prove that a right was unconditionally a right. 
Without metaphysics this would hardly have been possible. 

Now, we must note the fact that all these great moral philos- 
ophers of olden times were already thorough cosmopolitans. 
This, though much too often forgotten, after all could not have 
been otherwise, for absolute right cannot but apply to all hu- 
man beings. Christ was by no means the first citizen of the 
world. Socrates before him taught that all men were broth- 
ers, and in return for this the people of Athens handed him a 
draft of hemlock, even as the people of Jerusalem at a later 
date nailed Jesus to the cross, and as even now any one who 
does not see eye to eye with the mass of his fellow-citizens is 
outlawed by them. But the death of Socrates served as an 
example and a warning, and his disciples, to whom alone we 
owe our knowledge of him, consequently kept very quiet about 
his dangerous new philosophy. Nevertheless, the great Athe- 
nian's cosmopolitan ideas must have been very popular even 
five hundred years after his death, for the comparatively 
ignorant Epictetus,^ when expressing his belief in all men 
having one and the same country, quotes Socrates. If, he says, 
what philosophers say about the relationship between God and 
man be true, what is man to do, when asked to what country 
he belongs, but answer as Socrates did, not, **I am an Athenian 
or a Corinthian," but **I am a citizen of the world." 

This idea, however, prevailed not in Greece only, where it 
was principally advocated by the schools of the Cynics and 
Stoics, but among enlightened men throughout the world. An- 
cient Indian and Chinese literature affords numerous proofs 
of this. Now, about the time of Christ this conception of 

1 Conversations, Book I. 9. 


world-citizenship, which hitherto had only flashed like light- 
ning across the minds of a few geniuses, seems suddenly to have 
come to life in the form of a "variation on the conception of 
humanity. ' ' The time was fulfilled, as the Bible says. While 
Seneca in Rome was preaching the doctrine of world-wide love, 
the Jewish scholar Hillel was committing it to writing, and 
Confucius proclaiming brotherly love in the far East, while 
at the same time Christendom was coming into being. It 
may seem immaterial which of these teachers we follow pro- 
vided we do follow one. 

Even St. Paul makes clear references to such ideas, and so 
do the patriarchs and all the later Scholastics. The *' king- 
dom of God/' however, was more and more interpreted as 
meaning life in the world to come, a fact which in time cer- 
tainly prevented this conception from having the revolution- 
ary effects which at first it undoubtedly produced. But even 
the worldly philosophers of every school were all at bottom 
cosmopolitans, and hoped in one way or another to break down 
the barriers separating man from his fellow-man. In the fol- 
lowing table the only moderns I have quoted are, intentionally, 
Germans, because it seems, or at any rate did seem, the spe- 
cial vocation of the German nation to rescue these eternal con- 
ceptions of Christianity from the scholastic chaos of the 

In the Christian era all serious thinkers were also agreed 
that a perpetual peace must of course be the object of all 
this chaos and confusion. To discuss this in detail would lead 
me too far away from my point, and therefore I give the fol- 
lowing table. I would merely add that, with the possible ex- 
ception of St. Augustine, those mentioned in it all believed 
in peace on earth and in the community of all living beings. 

Then came the period when misinterpreted Darwinism al- 
tered awakening national sentiment and men's ideas gener- 
ally. First in England and France, afterward in Germany, 
and now in the smallest aggregates of people speaking the same 
or allied languages, for instance, the Czechs and Ukrainians, 




Object to be attained. 

Method of attaining it 

St. Paul. 

St. Augustine (De Civi- 
tate Dei XIV, 28). 

St. Thomas. (De regim. 
princ. ) 

Leasing. ("Erziehungdes 
Menschengeschechts." ) i 

Herder. ( "Ideen zu einer 
Philsophie der Ge- 
scliichte der Men- 
schheit.") 2 

Kant. ("Ideen zu einer 
allgemeinen Geschich- 
te," 1784.) a 

Fichte. ( "Grundziige des 
gegenwiirtigen Zeitalt- 
ers,"1806,VII, 18ff.) * 

Schelling. ("Vorlesungen 
fiber die Methode der 
akademischen studicn,', 
p. 153, and "System 
des transcendentalen 
Ideals," p. 417.) 5 

Hegel. ( "Philosophic der 
Geschichte," gesam- 
melteWerke,IX, 11.) « 

The kingdom of God 
on earth. 

"Everlasting Rest in 

"A Universal Chris- 
tian Monarchy/' 
with the Pope at its 
head. (Like Dante.) 

The Eternal New Gos- 


Perpetual Peace. 

Perfected Society. 

Universal legal consti- 

Absolute Right. 

Tlirough Christ. 

Through Christ. 

Through Christ. 

Through the religion 
of the spirit and of 

Through the rule of 
love and reason. 

Through a league of 
nations united to- 
gether by moral ties. 

By mutual improve- 

By the union of lib- 
erty and necessity. 

By progress in the 
realization of lib- 

1 "The Education of the Human Race," published in 1780. — -Translator. 

2 "Thoughts on the Philosophy of the History of Mankind," English 
translation 1800, originally published 1784-91. — Translator. 

3 "Outlines of Universal History." 

* "Characteristics of the Present Epoch," published 180n. 
f> "Lectures on the Method of Academic Study," published in 1803, and 
"System of Transcendental Idealism," published in 1800, — Translator. 
e"The Philosophy of History," Collected Works. 


the masses began to believe that a nation's rights depend upon 
its might alone. No jurist, it is true, ventured actually to 
admit this in so many words, though Felix Dahn,^ who, after 
all, is mainly a novelist, did once make certain concessions to 
nationalism; but even he does not dare to go to too great 

True, in quite recent times, especially after 1870, there 
was a change even in this respect, and now almost every one 
denounces his former ideals. No one, for instance, any longer 
ventures to call himself a citizen of the world ; at most he says 
he is international. 


§ 141. — The Law of Nations 

Thus if the mere possibility of there being a right necessar- 
ily implies world citizenship, it follows of necessity that right 
and war cannot exist side by side. 

But it is in human nature for every one to be convinced of 
the justice of his cause. The Castilian or Sicilian robber 
who plunders the rich considers himself only an essential 
element of impartial justice ; and the savor of the truth con- 
tained in Gerhard Hauptmann 's * * Biberpelz ' ' - consists sim- 
ply in showing that there is honor even among the lowest 
thieves. There is probably hardly a single genuine passion- 
ate criminal who could not produce, from the depths of his 
subconsciousness, some moral justification for his actions ; and 
even the cool, collected criminal, who, narrowly escaping 
prison, becomes a wealthy, respected citizen, can excuse him- 
self by urging that he ''keeps within the law." 

And if this is true of the individual man, how much more is 
it true of the masses. Whenever a hundred persons do the 

1 Julius Sophus Felix Dahn, poet, novelist, and historical writer. 
One of his chief novels, "A Fight for Rome," published in 1876, was 
translated into English two years later. — Translator. 

2 Gerhard Hauptmann's "Biberpelz" ("The Beaver") is a comedy pub- 
lished in 1893.— Translator. 


same thing, the person instinctively feels as if what so many- 
are doing could not but be right. But nowhere do greater 
numbers of persons act in concert than in war, and never does 
this feeling of being one of a number come out more strongly 
than in war-time. We must therefore never expect any na- 
tion to doubt the justice of *4ts" war even for a moment. 
Now, is there any criterion by which the justice of a war 
might be impartially tested? ^* Inter arma silent leges'*; 
when war breaks out, laws keep silence, as the unsentimental, 
but logical, Romans put it. And they were perfectly con- 
sistent, for war as war means that the notion of right is sus- 
pended ; and an appeal to arms proves the refusal to recognize 
that right is any longer the supreme court of appeal, and the 
determination to place might before right. 

It is clearly important to realize this. We may urge any 
and every reason for war. We may say it is a natural neces- 
sity, a disease which there is no warding off, a salutary medi- 
cine, a means of race expansion, or anything else we please; 
but let no one call it just. To do so would be to destroy the 
conception of right, for there is no worse injustice than one 
which assumes the aspect of right.^ 

Ihering - says that resistance to wrong is a duty. Does it 
really need any further proof that war against war is resist- 
ance to wrong? That is, that resistance to war is a duty? 
Is it not a commonplace for Weber's laughing philosopher to 
say that the conception of right already includes that of 
peace ? ^ A cause may be as just as possible, but as soon as the 

1 Plato's Republic, II, 4, 361. Dr. Nicolai also quotes Livy XXXIX, 
16, an indictment against hypocritical religion and using it as a cloak 
for crimes. 

2 Ihering or Jhering, Rudolf von. German jurist, who was a professor 
at various places, including Basel and Vienna. The work here quoted, 
'•Der Kampf urns Recht," pub. 1872, has been translated into English as 
**The Battle for Right." He was celebrated as an independent and clear 
thinker, and propounded a fresh view of Roman law as furnishing the 
basis of a new and adapted system of jurisprudence. — ^Translator. 

3"Demokrit," by Karl Jul. Weber, Vol. X, "Der Krieg" ("War"). 


sword is drawn for it, it ceases to be so, for then it is no longer 
right which is championing it, but might. 

In order that right may prevail between two persons, they 
must conclude an agreement. This, however, they can do 
only because, as the jurists say, they are already legally quali- 
fied to do so; or, as the natural scientist would phrase it, be- 
cause they already instinctively feel that they are members of 
a community. But now states come on the scene as repre- 
senting the collective determination of a whole community. 
Like individual human beings, they are living legal entities, 
endowed with a will of their own. The individual man, how- 
ever, is not merely an individual man, but also a citizen ; and 
similarly every state is a member of the human race. Hence 
it is juridically possible for individual nations to unite to- 
gether to form a universal human association for right. 

These premises are obvious. But it necessarily follows from , 
them that right between human beings is impossible without 
the recognition in some form or other that they belong to the 
same state ; and right between states is no less impossible with- 
out the recognition of some form of association which is above 
states. Thus every dispute about **mine" and "thine," and, 
for that matter, every criminal lawsuit, proves that both par- 
ties, even if unwillingly and perhaps only under compulsion, 
submit to the state, and consequently admit that they are 
brothers in a sense. All self-help, however, is a negation of 
the state. 

Similarly with regard to inter-state matters. All self-help 
on the part of a state — every war, that is — means that the 
particular state ceases to recognize any superordinate organi- 
zation, thereby destroying the only possible means of insuring 
right. In the juridical sense, a **just war," therefore, is a 
contradiction in terms. 

From a higher point of view, however, war is justified under 
the same conditions as justify self-help in general. When- 
ever an attempt is made to incroach upon the innate and in- 
alienable rights of an individual man or a nation, then both 


resort to self-help against whomsoever it may be. This is revo- 
lution, and is permissible even in the case of a minority 
against a majority. War will die out so soon as the organiza- 
tion of the world is strengthened. Revolutions there will al- 
ways be. 

Now, after all and despite all, a law of nations does exist, 
the enactments of which remain in force even during war. 
True, as yet it has always been violated in every war; but 
even were breaches of this law of nations the rule and not the 
exception, this would no more overthrow the conception of it 
than the conception of civil law would be overthrown in a state 
if the majority of its citizens happened to be criminals. 

The mere fact of a law of nations existing, at least in theory, 
is cause for satisfaction, since it proves that a supra-state com- 
munity already exists, and that certain component parts of the 
different states have already ceased to cooperate in making 
war. After all, what else does a rule or enactment of inter- 
national law mean but that certain things are outside war, 
* * extrabellical' ^ even during war, just as a legation in a for- 
eign country is extraterritorial? Where international law 
is in force, there is no war. 

International law may continue in force during war and 
side by side with it, but wherever it does exist it restricts war, 
and the time may one day come when it will have restricted 
it to the vanishing-point. But where war is, international 
law is not. Whether the cannons of one belligerent aim better 
than those of another depends upon a thousand things, but 
not in the least upon right. 

§ 142. — The Right of Reprisals 

That no man really takes international law seriously is 
obvious for many reasons. Nothing shows this so plainly, how- 
ever, as the constantly repeated announcement that reprisals 
have been or else are to be exercised. The bread rations 
of French prisoners of war in Germany, for instance, are cur- 
tailed, which may seem only natural, since, owing to the action 


of Germany's enemies, there is beginning to be a shortage of 
bread. As a matter of fact, however, it is not natural at all, 
for if any country undertakes the obligation to treat prisoners 
of war in a particular way, it is bound to do this, even should 
it be suffering from scarcity itself, just as an ordinary citizen 
must pay his debts, even if this entails his going hungry to bed. 
A French officer complained of there being no light of an eve- 
ning, and when told that there were neither gas-works nor elec- 
tricity-works in the place and that there was a great scarcity 
of petroleum throughout Germany, he remarked that that had 
nothing to do with him, and that if Germany could not give 
her prisoners any light, then she ought not to take any one 
prisoner. This was meant merely as a joke, but it is a strik- 
ing instance of how little we in Germany are entitled to talk 
about right. 

But to refer to the reduction of bread rations. As matters 
are now, no one can seriously reproach Germany for having 
taken such a step. The French, however, consider it a piece 
of barbarism, and would be quite within their rights in so 
doing ; but at the same time, according to the newspapers, they 
are resolving to put their German prisoners of war on a diet 
which, in their opinion, is insufficient, despite there being not 
the slightest pretext for so doing, for France is said not to be in 
the least short of food, indeed she cannot be so. 

Again, owing to the crews of our German submarines hav- 
ing attacked trading-vessels, the British have not treated them 
as prisoners of war, but have imprisoned them. The Germans 
consider this unjust, ''because our sailors were captured by 
the British while faithfully doing their duty,'' which is un- 
doubtedly true as far as the individual sailor is concerned, 
whatever may be our opinion as to the sinking of trading- 
vessels. Germany, however, not content with protesting, puts 
thirty-nine British officers under military arrest, knowing full 
well all the while that, even in the opinion of the Germans, 
they have done nothing dishonorable. Were the infringejnent 


of the Geneva Convention really considered as a breach of law, 
and therefore as wrong, it would be impossible to act thus, for 
no one steals because some one else has done so, and no one 
treats a criminal except in accordance with right and law. 

Reprisals, however, are never "right/' Yet the only peo- 
ple to adopt this point of view, which it might be thought was 
absolutely obvious, were the Russian intellectuals, who, in 
their appeal, stated that although the war was certainly accom- 
panied by a great deal of barbarity, yet it was for the Russians 
to protest only against such barbarities as were committed by 
the Russian Army; anything else was the concern of other 
nations.^ All other nations, on the contrary, have protested 
only against ''atrocities" committed by their enemies, and 
endeavored to put the doings of their own armies in the best 
possible light. 

Furthermore, no one will deny that, for instance, the in- 
vasion of Belgium, the torpedoing of trading-vessels, the use 
of poisonous gases, and much else besides are contrary to 
international law ; but that, as Bethmann-HoUweg openly ad- 
mitted in the Reichstag on August 4, 1914, supposing war 
to be allowable at all, international law is not unconditionally 
binding on a nation fighting for its existence. However much 
all right thinking men may deplore this, it is impossible to 
say straight away that there is no justification for such an 
opinion. But it proves that the law of nations is simply not 
law, as is proved by these examples ; but that in the opinion of 
every normal man there are exceptions and special cases in it. 
There ought to be no exception to right, however. In any case 
it is not anything which can be measured out or made better 
or worse by something being added to or taken from it. 

1 So far as can yet be told, it is the Russian Army, contrary to 
the view generally prevailing, which is making more efforts than that 
of any other nation to act in accordance with the precepts of morality, 
and likewise to take advantage of this war to compel other nations to 
recognize Russia as a civilized power. This, of course, does not do away 
with the fact that Cossacks have committed gross excesses. 


§ 143. — The Bight of the Stronger 

True, there is yet another kind of right — ^the right of the 
stronger, which certainly is a Bight only in name, and has 
nothing whatever to do with any right for which there is any 
moral basis whatsoever. But combating prejudice is only too 
often neither more nor less than combating the misuse of 
words; and the fact of the same word being used for a right 
based on strength and a right based on a responsibility has 
assuredly done a great deal of mischief. 

Now, the German word Recht (right) contains two wholly 
diverse notions: moral right, and prevailing right (law). 
Finally there is the attempt made to combine the two senses in 
the word justice, man's subjective virtue. 

This of course easily gives rise to misconceptions, such as 
the right of superior strength, or ^'^ raison du plus fort/^ 
as the French say. Now, that in actual fact strength often 
does create right even the ancients were well aware, and 
Pindar speaks of "the victorious hand of law sanctifying the 
grossest violence. ' ' ^ Even in his time attempts were made to 
justify this right by natural science, Darwinistically, as it 
were. Callicles,^ for instance, says: **In the state, as in na- 
ture, the stronger must rule over the weaker, for natural se- 
curity consists therein. ' * Even Socrates ^ and Plato * assure 
us that **the right at present prevailing is based on the acci- 
dent of power,'' but they claim, on moral grounds, that this 
ought not to be the case. 

Since Socrates 's time the question whether man shall be a 
practical politician or an idealist has divided the world into 
two opposite camps ; but although every one claiming the name 
of human being theoretically strives for that right which he 
vaguely feels to be his immutable ideal, yet most men abide 
by the precept of the sober Aristotle, who wets content to note 
the fact that right, properly so called, did not exist on earth. 

1 Pindar in the laws of Plato. 3 "Memorabilia," IV, 4 ff. 

2 Plato's "Gorgias," 38. * Plato's *'Laws," IV, 4. 


Only in the brief period when primitive Christianity pre- 
vailed did large numbers of human beings venture to dream 
dreams of justice, but the brutal facts of this rough world 
soon put an end to any such extravagances. Even Spinoza ^ 
finally admitted that the right of each individual man ex- 
tended as far as his might, adding, in order to make this seem 
less brutal, that the divine spark lurking in every person 
might be trusted to prevent too great encroachments on the 
part of might. 

This state of pessimistic irresolution continued a long while, 
as the writings of Hobbes, Malej3ranche,^ and others testify; 
while the sharp distinction between this **vale of tears" and 
''celestial bliss" made the mass of the people consider any 
discussion of the question in principle impossible. Not till 
recent times did the masses evince a desire for *' enjoying 
celestial bliss while still on earth," and again they began to 
wonder what, after all, their rights really were. But the revo- 
lutionaries of to-day fell into the mistake of the feudal oppres- 
sors of yesterday, and built up right upon might.^ 

That there should be a transition period is understandable, 
but unfortunate, not merely because the bloodshed, for in- 
stance, during the French Revolution must be ascribed to this 
theory, but also because it prevented the innovators from 
really going to the root of matters, that is, from being con- 
sistent. We shall see the reason for that inconsistency which 

1 "Quia unus quisque tantum juris habet, quantum potentia valet." 
Spinoza's "Tractate," 1670, Caput II, § 8, "Tractatus theologico-poli- 

2 Nicole Malebranche. French, philosopher, who became a Roman 
Catholic priest. His philosopher has a certain resemblance to that of 
Berkeley, but his chief connection with English philosophy is through 
his pupil John Norris, an acute critic of John Locke. Malebranche's 
"Recherche de lat Verite" appeared in 1674, and his "Entretiens sur la 
Metaphysique" in 1688. The former was translated into English in 
1694.— Translator. 

3 Auguste Comte has some very wise words about this, the funda- 
mental mistake of all modern revolutions. In "Le^on 46," Vol, IV, p. 
27 et seq. he shows the founders of a new era always set to work with 
the methods of the old ^ra- 


has struck every one in such men as Robespierre and Saint 
Just, if we reflect that they, too, wanted to base right on 

Again, Ferdinand Lassalle is to-day popularly considered 
the first man to have advocated a future state based on justice. 
Yet it is singular that he should at the same time have once 
more proclaimed the ancient doctrine of the right of superior 
strength.; and also that, despite his having strongly opposed 
the notion of acquired or inherited rights, he should once 
more have raised the question whether might or right comes 
first. In his speeches and writings on constitutionalism, he 
adopted the attitude that constitutional questions, or, to use 
a more comprehensive word, questions of right, are questions 
of might, arguing that right, in so far as it exists, always 
depends on actually existing conditions of power, and that 
therefore written law cannot be lasting or of value except it 
exactly expresses these actually existing conditions of power. 

Now, this would seem to justify all violence, war, plunder, 
and what not besides, as the reactionaries of that day were 
astute enough to observe. Thus the * * Kreuzzeitung ' ' ^ wrote 
that the revolutionary Jew's instinct had led him to hit the 
right nail on the head. Roon,^ then Prussian Minister of 
War, stated that ''what history is mainly concerned about — 
the history not only of individual countries, but also the in- 
ternal history of each country — ^was neither more nor less than 
the struggle for and increase of power." Finally Bismarck, 
then prime minister,^ to a certain extent admitted that his 
socialist opponent was right, opining that "such questions of 
right are usually settled not by confronting one contradictory 
theory with another, but only gradually, by the practice pre- 
vailing in constitutional law." That is, considering who it 
was who used these words, it all depends on how powerful the 
country or countries concerned may be at the time. Whether 

iThe "Kreuzzeitung" for June 8, 1862. No. 1862. 

2 Boon's speech in the Prussian Chamber of Deputies, Sept. 12, 1862. 

8 Bismarck's speech at the meeting of the Chamber on Oct, 7, 1862. 


Bismarck actually used the words *' Might comes before right" 
was long disputed.^ 

§ 144. — Evolution and Revolution 

Whether these words were actually uttered or not, the phrase 
** Might comos before right" has long become a fact, and the 
only question is whether it is to be a guiding principle. 

If a man have been killed, however unjustly, no right can call 
him back to life ; but this recognition of a fact does not mean 
that we think it justified, and even if what is done cannot be 
undone, we may still insist on its not happening again. 
Unless the killing of a human being does not offend any one's 
sense of right, as is the case with the execution of a murderer 
the matter does not end there. Society tries as far as it can 
to protest against the fact of the murder by punishing the 

Hence the words "Might comes before right" merely mean 
that it may happen that the conceptions of right alter so 
radically that another right has now generally succeeded in 
prevailing, although of course only with the help of might. 
Of course it may be said that in the French Revolution might 
prevailed. Bu.; the only reason why might was able to pre- 
vail, and why the whole Revolution did not soon fizzle out, 
but revolutionized all conceptions of right, was because men 
were already thinking of some such radical upheaval. It 
was generally felt that conditions before the Revolution were 
wrong. A small minority were endeavoring to enforce alleged 
rights that really no longer existed. Hence the victory won 
by the might of revolutionary ideas was in reality a victory 
of the new conceptions of right. In a certain sense right and 
might are identical ideas, although only if it be realized that 
true right alone has the might permanently to prevail. In 

1 In 1863 they were attributed to him by Graf Schwerin, and the re- 
port spread everywhere. Bismarck protested, but it must be admitted 
that this was undoubtedly the sense of his speech, even although the 
words are not actually in the shorthand report of it. 


this sense the saying ''Might comes before right" is justified; 
but it can also be reversed into ''Right comes before might," 
which would mean that the new right is actually more power- 
ful than the old vested might, however powerful the outward 
means by which it may be supported. 

Mod'^rn right will always struggle against ancient migh;t, 
and this it is which justifies revolutions. But modern right 
will never succeed in prevailing unless the people, the mass 
of mankind, actually accept it; and before they can do this 
they must greatly modify their conceptions of right. In 
other words, a revolution, which is always the work of some 
far-seeing genius, cannot come about unless evolution has 
already educated the world to be prepared for it. 

All revolutions, whether fought out with spiritual weapons 
or with weapons of iron and steel, have had forerunners. 
These forerunners failed simply because the new right had 
not yet become might. Socrates died without having had any 
influence worth mentioning on the world in general; and 
henceforth the great revolution of mankind is inseparably 
bound up with the name of Christ. Huss perished, but Luther 
prevailed, Galilei had publicly to abjure his own philosophy ; 
but Newton followed, and with him modern science begins. 
Even the French Revolution could never have taken place 
unless Voltaire, Rousseau, and many others had prepared the 
way for it. 

Thus these forerunners personified the right to a new order 
of things; the old order was corrupt even in their day: but 
the time had not yet come, mankind was not yet ripe, and 
there had not been a sufficient change in the conception of 
right either from the political, scientific, or ethical point of 

That outward development of power which causes the final 
collapse of an already decayed structure is usually of merely 
secondary importance. It is not a cause, but a symptom ; but 
because many people do not look below the surface and 
see only outward causes and effects, they imagine that it is thi* 


new development of power which has really caused a new 
conception of right to prevail. Thus and in no other way- 
could the saying ** Might comes before right** have arisen. 
The decisive factor, however, is always evolution, not revolu- 
tion ; the new conception of right will and must prevail with or 
without revolts. But impatient man often wants to make 
events move faster, and though sometimes he may have suc- 
ceeded in so doing, he has quite as often merely delayed mat- 

Similarly with regard to war. If the German people pos- 
sesses the physical and psychical qualifications for ruling the 
world, it will succeed in doing so without any war; and if it 
does not possess such qualifications, the winning of any num- 
ber of wars will not alter this fact. 

As far as the settlement of actual questions of power is 
concerned, the war is merely an insignifioant temporary dis- 
aster ; and in no case is the saying * * Might comes before right, * ' 
rightly interpreted, calculated to justify a display of force 
on a scale, as it seems, hitherto unprecedented. 

§ 145. — War and the Judgment of God 

Only a good Christian can be a good soldier. This may 
seem like contempt of the Christian doctrine of "love thy 
neighbor as thyself"; yet these words contain a truth which 
explains much that has happened and may serve as an indica- 
tion of what is to come. One thing, indeed, is certain. 
Among moral beings none may draw the sword save he who 
believes in God. None save he who is firmly convinced that 
God awards the victory to him whose cause is just can be 
at once a soldier and a moral person; for if no God directs 
the shot, then it is might, not right, which wins. 

Now, there is really no necessity to insist on moral consider- 
ations in war, which we are not accustomed seriously to take 
into account in any other human transactions. We might 
be content with saying, like Voltaire,^ that a trifle more or 

1 "Candide ou rOptimisme," by Voltaire, 1759. 


less wrong in this most glorious of all worlds matters devilish 
little; and that when millions of men are being destroyed in 
the hideous struggle for supremacy, we can hardly grudge 
those who like such emotions as the pleasure of killing a few 
thousands in honest warfare. In any case, what 's in a name ? 
A man dies of a cancerous swelling, even if the doctor consoles 
him by calling it non-malignant; and the results of a war 
are equally inevitable, whether we call it just or unjust. 
Even were it proved justifiable, this would not alter the fact 
of its being hideous. 

Yet for most men there is a great deal in a name. Other 
beings endowed with reason do not understand this. The 
lunar Princess Domiladosol,^ for instance, rightly asks, 
**But in war why do not men appeal to arbitrators, if they 
believe right is on their side ? ' ' But it is just the men of to- 
day who seem not to perceive the irony of such a question, 
■ and they lay more stress than ever on a war being "just.*' 
Frivolous and criminal wars, they say, ought to be prevented, 
and in these they include religious and dynastic wars and 
wars of conquest. Only a "fight for the fatherland" is just, 
in which category people in Germany specially include the 
wars of 1813, 1870, and 1914.- But if even a professor of 
law such as Wilhelm Kahl passes over 1864 and 1866 in 
silence, which can hardly be wholly unintentional, yet most of 
his fellow-countrymen consider wars of conquest also just; 
and only a handful of them would allow the fact of Belgium 's 
being annexed or not in any way to affect their opinion of the 
War of 1914. And though the Sultan of Turkey proclaimed 
the hetwah, or holy war, — that is a religious war, — ^this does 
not make him any less valuable as an ally than Austria. Yet 
Austria, which is held together only by the Hapsburg dynasty, 
could scarcely wage any save a dynastic war. And religious 

1 "Histoire comique, ou voyage dans la Lune." Par Cyrano de 
Bergerac, 1650. Chap. III. 

2 "Vom Recht zum Krieg und vom Siegespreis" ("On the Right to 
Make War and the Fruits of Victory") by Professor Dr. Kahl, 1914. 


and dynastic wars are supposed to be frivolous and criminal. 

No, it matters not what epithet we apply to war, but for 
this very reason is it worth while going into ''the justice of 
war'^ in order to prove that the few who have ever seriously 
and impartially called war just have in reality always relied 
upon the ''right of the stronger/' that is, on a sort of sup- 
posed justice based on natural science.^ This, as I purpose 
to show, has nothing whatever to do either with right or nat- 
ural science, which at once answers the objection that war 
and peace cannot be determined by natural science alone, 
and that there are also profound ethical causes underlying war. 

Moreover, it is a fact that man has considered war not merely 
as a test of power or strength, but always as a means of ascer- 
taining who is in the right. It was the deluded mystics, 
who used to make the judgments of God an integral part of 
the institution of law, who have sanctified war, as it were. 
It used to be believed that in a duel God gave the victory to 
the combatant with right on his side, and that an innocent 
person did not sink in water, and was not scorched by red- 
hot iron nor affected by poison. Similarly it was believed 
that the heavenly hosts placed their shield in front of that 
army which was waging the war desired by God. 

The world has long since ceased to believe in God's personal 
intervention in war. It is known that ' ' God is ever on the side 
of the big battalions." But the notion that there is still 
some sort of justice in war seems ineradicable, despite the fact 
that the least reflection shows that any possibility of the just 
man winning must be based on the intervention of a higher 
principle representing justice. The educated believer will 
assuredly hardly believe that this omnipotent principle can be 
modified by force of arms ; but the uneducated and supersti- 
tious, who imagine they can use their God for selfish ends, will 
invoke His name on behalf of their real or imaginary right. 

iDr. Kahl, the authority on criminal law, for instance, expressly 
states in one of his addresses, "War is a natural force in the history 
of the whole world." 



§ 146. — Natural Law and Purpose 

It would seem an impossibility to insist on natural duties, 
since naturg knows neither right nor wrong. Even the phrase 
** natural law" is, after all, misleading. The ancient Greeks 
racked their brains a long time as to whether this, that, or 
the other was a ''natural'' or a ** human" institution. Not 
till a fairly recent period was it thought possible to settle the 
question by deciding that it was **a natural" institution. 

In modern science the phrase natural law is now one which 
every one understands. Nevertheless, it is still a reminder 
that we once believed in something which laid down laws for 
nature. According to a man's point of view, he considered 
these laws just or unjust, and then a belief in the existence 
of a natural law of course necessarily arose. In reality, how- 
ever, there is neither law nor right in nature, but only facts 
and necessities, or, to put the matter in a nutshell, conditions 
under which something happens or does not happen. Were 
it a law that iron follows a magnet, then of course the one 
must always follow the other; but in reality magnetism is 
only one of the conditions by which iron can be moved, and if, 
for example, in any particular case gravitation preponderates 
over magnetism, then iron does not obey this so-called law. 

Given the right conditions, anything is possible; but, as a 
matter of fact, possibilities are mostly so much reduced by all 
manner of ** necessary" conditions that one particular pos- 
sibility of necessity intervenes. A stone in any position in 
space can, so far as itself is concerned, move in any direction 
whatsoever if only it receives the proper impulse; but as 
gravitation acts everywhere on earth, the stone will always 
tend to move toward the center of the earth unless there is 
a special cause why it should not do so. 

Similarly in the nature of things every human being has 
the power of doing everything within the limits of his physical 


strength. He can, if he pleases, call this power his inborn 
right. Thus, to quote one instance, there is undoubtedly no 
natural law to prevent any human being from killing others, 
stealing their belongings, violating women, idling, getting in- 
fectious diseases, and dying. In this sense also each person 
and each nation has a "right" to wage war. 

But to call the possibility of doing all this **a right '^ can 
at best create confusion, for such a possibility has nothing in 
common with what we call a right. Indeed, in the case of war 
it is opposed to every conceivable right. Broadly and gener- 
ally it may be said that, in order to choose the legitimate course 
from the heterogeneous collection of possible courses open to 
us, we must have some object or purpose in view to guide us. 
But such a purpose transcends nature. It is probably within 
the province of natural science to note that some such regard 
for moral obligations is present in the case of a certain pro- 
portion of human beings. Similarly it can note the fact that 
magnetism occurs in certain substances. Natural science does 
not know what magnetism is or what moral obligations are, 
but in both cases it can inquire *' under what conditions they 
occur. ' ' 

§ 147. — Inborn Rights 

For instance, it is a fact that most human beings (or, for 
the sake of prudence, let us say, some of them) shrink from 
committing murder. Whether the word right or fact be 
applied to this shrinking does not matter. Similarly it is an 
undeniable fact that certain persons do not feel any such 
horror, and that such persons are to be found not only among 
primitive peoples, but even among modern Europeans. Some 
of them have insane or criminal tendencies, but others seem 
absolutely normal. At times, indeed, it seems as if almost the 
entire population of a country absolutely cease to feel such 
horror. All this is a fact, and, if we please, an inborn right. 
In any case no one is in a position to restrict this right, and 
to this extent it is really inalienable. If a man's brain is so 


constructed that every murder seems to him necessarily sinful, 
then no written law in the worlds no persuasion, and no pun- 
ishment would enable me to deprive him of his conviction. 
But probably the exercise of such a right can be prevented; 
and in fact the state generally does prevent its citizens from 
giving way to any inclination to enrich themselves by murder- 
ing another; but on the contrary, for a short period it com- 
pels men, even men who have a horror of blood, to kill others. 
In the first case the result is that in Germany scarcely 400 
cases of murder or manslaughter occur in a year ; that is, one 
in every 250,000 of the population. In the second case, it 
may probably be said, although no exact statistics are avail- 
able, that during the war the number of men who refused to 
kill to order has hardly been more proportionately, that is, 
one in 25,000, in both cases a wholy insignificant percentage. 

Now, individual men have of course just as much an inborn 
right to love killing or to hate it as to order or forbid others 
to kill ; but even here it is seen to be more fitting to refer to 
such variations not as rights, but as divergent possibilities of 
human nature. In particular, to order and forbid anything is 
to place limitations on it in precisely the same sort of way as 
limitations are placed on every natural phenomenon. Every 
stone falls ; that is, it must fall, or, if you will, it has a right 
to fall. Indeed, w^e have become accustomed to describe this 
as a natural law. But we need only put a sufficiently strong 
support beneath it, and the stone, although still having a 
right (!) to fall, ceases to do so. We may say that it has now 
merely a tendency to fall. 

If now I place limitations on a stone on every side, — in 
other words, if I build it into a building, — ^then I deprive it of 
a number of possibilities of movement, though not of all. It 
still expands when the sun shines on it and trembles when 
sounds are made. Indeed, owing to its cohesion with the 
other stones it has actually acquired more stability and force 
of resistance, but it is no longer possible for it to fall down at 
will, or, for instance, to bash in a man's head. 


Even so are human beings welded together into large or- 
ganizations. Their ''tendencies'* or ** inborn rights'* still ex- 
ist, but it has become impossible for them to give way to these 
tendencies. Thus any one belonging to a state can no longer 
murder at will, because by so doing he ceases to be a member 
of that state/ It is therefore merely idle to refer to these so- 
called inborn human rights. They are far too numerous, 
and being altogether peculiar to the person, cannot be made 
the same for every one. 

Conversely we may claim that any one feeling absolutely 
impelled to wage war has a right to feel thus, and is also en- 
titled to act upon his impulse, provided society in general 
does not prevent him from so doing. But any one feeling ab- 
solutely impelled to protest against war has also an inalienable 
right to do so, and is also entitled to protest openly, pro- 
vided society in general do not prevent him from so doing. 
To put it briefly, it is open to every living thing, everything 
that exists at all, to gain a foothold for itself, and it tends to 
do this, and therefore has a right to do so. But this means 
struggle; and it is this innate, inalienable right to struggle 
which is the highest thing known to mankind. Now, not a 
single one of all these rights for which we may struggle is pre- 
ferred before any other. Hence it does not seem possible to 
make any general deduction from them. The right to strug- 
gle is the one thing ever present; and it might be contended 
that it is the only truly natural right which can he recognized. 

§ U8.~The Right to War 

Here we come in contact with the unique problem of war; 
and it would seem as if this unrestricted struggle of all against 
all must mean hopeless anarchy and never-ending war; but 
this is only apparently so. Suppose we are determined to 

1 Even Seneca compares human society to a stone vault which would 
collapse if one part did not support another. (Societas nostra lapidun 
fornicationi simillima est: quae casura, nisi invicem obstarent, hoc ipso 
sustinetur. Seneca, "Epistolse," 95.) 


exercise this right to struggle and to survive, but not after 
the manner of a stone or a bomb, which flies on its way and 
attains its aim by senseless destruction of every obstacle, un- 
less it meet with equally senseless destruction by encountering 
too severe resistance. Suppose, rather, that we mean to exer- 
cise our right as thinking persons, knowing what we want. 
Then we must be quite clear as to what we are really fighting 
for, and for love of whom — for ourselves, for the country, for 
civilization, for our God, or for whatsoever else. Further- 
more, we must consider the means wherewith we are going 
to wage our struggle, for struggle does not necessarily mean 
war. War is only one of the many possible variations of 
struggle, which can be carried on in all manner of ways — 
by persuasion or by force, by labor or by destruction, by the 
work of the head or by that of the hand. 

Hence there are many objects of struggle and many ways 
of struggling, and in each individual case the question arises 
whether a particular weapon will serve to attain any particu- 
lar purpose. For instance, even the most narrow-minded 
theologians must have perceived by now that, if a man wishes 
to fight for his God, he had best not have recourse to cannon, 
as for many hundreds of years was thought to be the case. 
In fact, it is altogether questionable whether war is the best 
means of attaining any human object whatever, whether na- 
tional or cosmopolitan. 

Now, supposing we admit a natural right to struggle, and 
see the Alpha and Omega of all progress in ** inspiring war.'' 
Then, I say, we are obliged to ask of what use war has been 
and of what use it can be. It is this practical aspect of the 
question of war with which I hope to deal, and I trust I shall 
show that war is not a suitable method of attaining any con- 
ceivable purpose. This, however, does not quite go to the 
root of the matter, for then we must assume that all human 
beings act with a definite purpose. But there may be people 
who refuse to admit the need for having a set purpose, saying 
that just as they take delight in a woman's embraces without 


any consciousness of an ** inspiring purpose," similg^rly they 
take delight in war, and mean to wage war, even were there no 
object in so doing, but merely for war's sake. Was not the 
Venus Hetaira always more beloved than the Venus Genetrix ? 
Such persons must be accepted as a fact, and we have no 
right to criticize them even if we dislike them. The only way 
to get the better of them is by natural science, which sets out 
from no preconceived ideas whatever. Now for the first time 
the full advantage of this method will appear in the matter of 
the dissemination of truth. 

Natural science asks under what conditions a stone falls, 
and under what conditions it does not fall, taking no account 
of whether in falling it does harm or not. So must we pro- 
ceed in regard to war, first, purely inductively and empir- 
ically stating the conditions which, considering how many out- 
lets there are for human energy, have yet made war a ne- 
cessity. No other method of procedure would lead us to a 
clear issue. Frischeisen-Kohler,^ for instance, tries to prove 
deductively that it is possible for the world to live at peace, 
and comes to the conclusion that ''no natural evolution can 
cause the disappearance of wars," and this precisely because 
*'they are not a natural necessity." 

At first we are inclined to think that here is a misprint, and 
that the word ''not" ought to have been omitted; for if war 
is really a necessity, then it can not become extinct, whereas, 
on the contrary, if it is not a necessity, then it has no real 
justification for its existence, and may very easily become 
extinct. Frischeisen-Kohler, however, really means what he 
writes, and hence his deductions are not so wholly illogical. 
If we assume that anything in the world is there by chance, 
then its further evolution must also be chance, and nothing 
definite can be predicted about it. The Berlin philosopher's 
conclusion, therefore, is wholly unimportant. His premises 

i"Da8 Problem des ewigen Friedens" ("The Problem of Perpetual 
Peace"), by the still living German philosopher Frischeisen-Kohler, 
Mtiller: Berlin, 1916. 


are that war is a chance event, but from this it neither follows 
that it will continue to exist nor that it will pass away. 

Hence, in order to form a profitable conception of war, it 
was needful first and foremost to endeavor to conceive it as a 
necessity in isolated instances; for only when we see under 
what conditions it is necessary can we decide under what con- 
ditions it is superfluous, or, rather, impossible.^ 

§ 149. — The Law of the Organism 

We know now that war was, so to speak, a passing phase in 
man's strivings after higher things ; we know that that day has 
really gone by, and that it survives only by virtue of a right 
sanctified by custom. And now we can inquire what is the 
real, and, as we think, indestructible and eternal principle of 
man. It may, it is true, be asked whether there is, after all, 
any such principle, and whether, beyond the categorical im- 
peratives of the individual human being, there exists an auto- 
cratic, superordinate imperative that applies to all human be- 
ings alike, and by which the justifications of individual im- 
peratives may be gaged. Now, we shall find that there is such 
a universal moral law, and, strange as this may at first sight 
appear, it is based upon man's physical nature. Hence it is 
categorical in quite another sense than that in which Buddha, 
Christ, or Kant could insist on their moral laws being cate- 
gorical. Its precepts, however, are identical with those of 
these three teachers. 

This universal moral law, moreover, could be inferred as 
soon as the conception of natural law was made clearer. A 
right based on the decision of an individual man alone must 
always be questionable so long as it may conflict with other 
rights. The basis of such a natural right or natural tend- 
ency must therefore be some independent organism which has 
no need to respect any rights but its own. 

Now, here on earth, first, the individual man, and, secondly, 

1 Cf . the chapters on the justification for war from the point of view 
of the natural scientist. 


the human organism as a whole alone fulfil these conditions. 
The individual man owes his privileged position to the fact, 
which no one can well deny, that his functions form together 
a comparatively complete and independent whole. The com- 
plete human organism, supposing it to exist at all, which is 
what we mean to prove, has of course the same privileged sit- 
uation. Humanity as a whole, indeed, is upon earth virtually 
entirely cut off from ancient superordinate cosmic influences, 
and thus is not obliged to respect any rights of others. 

All connecting terms, however, such as the family or the 
state are only casual and mutable products of our changing 
customs, and can therefore not be considered as natural, but 
at most as conventional agglomerations. The only organisms 
which are immutable, and consequently above all conventions, 
must be the individual man and mankind in general. They 
therefore form the basis of all right, and there is only the right 
of mankind in general and the right of the individual man who 
is aware that he is in the right as regards all the world. Then, 
but only then, is he justified in being a revolutionary. 

The sensation which we experience because we feel we all 
belong to one vast organism we call altruism; but that which 
we experience because of the fact that we as personalities 
to a certain extent form distinct individual organisms we call 
egoism. Altruism and egoism are therefore not unconditional 
opposites, but the same sentiment directed to a different object. 
Egoism we need not stop to consider; it flourishes like the 
green bay-tree: altruism must be proved to be the necessary 
equivalent of something actually genuine. 


§ 150. — The Twofold Basis of Altruism 

All morality is based on the presence of alt^iism. 
The word itself is new, having been coined scarcely a 
hundred years ago by Comte,^ who rightly considered it as 

1 This is according to the German philosopher Fisler. 


embracing all the conditions of civilization and morality. 

The term is used by every one in much the same sense, for, 
after all, it is merely a verbal difference whether a desire 
be called altruistic if it be likely to benefit others,^ or to satisfy 
them,^ or in general to do them ' * good. ' ' ^ The only point of 
disagreement is how far altruism serves a good purpose or is 
allowable. It is possible to be altruistic without limit, as 
certain Christians would fain have us be; but altruism can 
also be restricted by declaring it contrary to morality unless 
it promote human evolution, or, in the words of the German 
philosopher Cornelius,* if it takes account of the emotional 
experiences of our individual fellow-men, but only of what 
is permanently beneficial to the world in general. 

It is not till we come to the basis of altruism that opinions 
are divided. Can altruistic sentiments arise in man ? And if 
so, how? And can an individual man, apparently apart, put 
himself, as it were, absolutely in the place of another? And 
if so, how ? These questions are generally answered in two dia- 
metrically opposite ways. The simpler way of getting out of 
the difficulty is to say that altruism, like so much else, is in- 
nate. "We can understand why the ancients said this, since 
they knew nothing about the history of evolution. Aristotle ^ 
calls man simply a ^wov ttoAitxov ; the Stoa ^ believed that man 
was a social animal for the good of the nations in general; 
and, finally, Hume speaks of man having an innate sense of 
what is generally for the best. All this we can understand, 
but when Spencer^ says that altruism is as primogenial as 

1 As does Herbert Spencer in his "Principles of Morality," § 72, 1892. 

2 As does tlie German philosopher Theodor Lipps in "Ethische 
Grundfragen" ("Root Questions of Ethics"), p. 11. 1889. 

3 As does the German-Galician philosopher Alexius Moinong in 
"Untersuchungen zur Werttheorie" ("Investigations into the Theory of 
Values"), p. 99. 1899. 

4"Einleitung in die Philosophic" ("An Introduction to Philosophy") 
by the German philosopher H. Cornelius. 1903. 

5 Aristotle's "Politica," I, 2. 

6 Cf . Seneca, L. A. 5, de Ira II, 3. 

7 "Principles of Morality," § 76. 1892. 


egoism ; when John Stuart Mill ^ and Wilhelm Wundt repeat 
almost precisely the same thing; and ^hen SimmeP calls 
altruism an inherited instinct, but Ribot,* says the altruistic 
instinct is inherited, then we can only say they might have 
known that they were really saying nothing at all. 

Those who consider altruism as egoism in disguise are more 
logical ; but even this view is old, and in reality it is held by all 
religions, which certainly do insist on altruism; but probably 
because their founders are mostly intellectual weaklings, they 
consider the satisfaction of a selfish sentiment of happiness 
as the sole motive for morality. Thus they try to encourage 
altruism by first appealing to egoism, by promising either 
earthly bliss (as in the fourth commandment of Moses), or 
bliss in a visionary immortality. 

We have three direct testimonies * to the fact that Christ said 
that self-sacrifice — that is, altruism — is in reality the sublimest 
form of egoism. ** Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; 
but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, 
the same shall save it." (Mark viii, 35.) There could not be 
a grosser tribute to the egoism innate in every human being; 
but almost all religious doctrines are alike in this respect. 
Christ finds eternal bliss in the "beyond," and the Buddhist 
blessed oblivion, the Mohammedan finds houris, and the Indian 
well stocked hunting-grounds. Even the religious Seneca ^ 
says, with an egoistic undertone, ''Wilt thou truly live for 
thyself, then must thou live for others." 

Even if in religions the egoistic impulse appears 'only in 
disguise, yet it is afterward frankly and consciously expressed, 

1 Collected Works, 1869. 

2 "Einleitung in die Moralwissenschaft" ("Introduction to Moral Sci- 
ence") by the still living German philosopher Simmel, published 1892. 

I, 92. 

3 "Psychologie dea Sentiments," 1896, by Th^odule Armand Ribot, 
§ 325. (Translated into English as "The Psychology of the Emotions.") 

4 Matthew X, 39; Mark VIII, 35; Luke XVI 1, 33; John XII, 25. 
B"Alteri vivere oportet, si vis tibi vivere." Seneca's "Epistolae," 48, 

II. Cf. also 60 IV. 


particularly by British writers. For instance, Hobbes^ at- 
tributes right and morality to selfish impulses toward self- 
preservation and to the fact that we are all mutually dependent 
on one another. Hobbes agrees that as man soon perceived 
that he got along better if he took others' interests into con- 
sideration, he acts altruistically from egoistic motives. 

Those who argued thus are in general the same as those who 
attributed right to utility. (Of. § 151.) What they have is 
all very well as far as it goes. Yet all high-sounding phrases, 
such as Ihering's '* egoism of groups" and Meinong's ''self- 
less egoism"^ are mere definitions, and explain nothing. 
Also it matters little whether we love or hate egoism. Kant, 
for instance,^ says it is the self-seeking element in man's 
sensual nature which is * ' radically wrong. ' ' Diihring * even 
says that egoism is nowise natural, but a product of degeneracy 
and corruption. On the other hand, Schopenhauer ^ describes 
egoism (that "impulse toward being and well-being") as the 
mainspring of action both in human beings and animals. 
Stirner ^ declares that the Ego is autocratic ; and finally Niet- 
zsche ^ insists that the egoistic view of the world is the ruling 
morality and above the altruistic morality of slave. All which 
views and definitions matter equally much or equally little. 

§ 151. — The Development of the ^* English'^ Doctrine of 

In reality these two possible bases of morality are no longer 

1 Hobbes, "De Give" C I, § 2. 

2 Alexius Meinong, 1 c, p. 103. 

3 Kant's "Kritik der praktischen Vernunft" ("Critique of practical 
Reason"), 1788. Part I, Vol. I, 2, and ^'Anthropologic," I, § 2. 

4 "Wirklichkeitsphilosophie" ("Philosophy of Reality") by Eugen 
Diihring, 1878, p. 139. 

5"Uber die Grundlagen der Moral" ("The Foundations of Morality) 
§ 1840. 

B"Der einzige und sein Eigentum" ("The Individual and his Prop- 
erty") by Max Stirner (real name Kaspar Schmidt), 1845. 

7 In "Zarathustra," but the idea is more definitely expressed in 
"Jenseits von Gut und Bose," by Friedrich Nietzsche. 


of much interest to-day. But the antithesis between the two 
points of view to a certain extent still concerns us, because 
we in Germany have been accustomed proudly to insist on the 
fact that, instead of a utilitarian morality fit only for a na- 
tion of shopkeepers, we possess an absolute morality based on 
a categorical imperative; and that this morality ordains that 
every one shall act morally, ''however much he may injure 
himself or others in so doing." ^ Even those who do not be- 
lieve in such an absolute morality may think it desirable, at 
any rate, to apply some form of morality, even should it be on 
a false basis. 

Now, we may readily admit that Kant's transcendental mo- 
rality is scarcely suited to serve as a basis for conduct on the 
battle-field; and the German 1902 "Rules of Land Warfare" 
are accordingly utilitarian, whether they mean to be so or not. 
Above all, however, this war has proved that it is just the 
most cultivated persons who are likely to say to themselves 
that, as they cannot now follow Kant's moral precepts, al- 
though these are the only true ones, therefore they conform 
to no morality, but do what it is their business to do as de- 
structive machines under the stern compulsion of iron neces- 

Now, it is out of the question to base a war morality on 
Kant's "dignity of man." Hence we ought, and indeed a na- 
tion at war must, try to discover some other basis for its mor- 
ality. That is, unless it is to be altgoether at sea. Thus the 
exigencies of war quite naturally lead us toward that so-called 
"selfish system" which we, not wholly without justification, 
are accustomed to consider a somewhat contemptible speciality 
of our relatives across the channel. But instead of endeavor- 
ing to view it impartially, our pillars of civilization are just 
now doing their utmost to pour contempt upon it. 

The chief reason for the scorn with which utilitarianism was 

1 "Cber ein vermeintliches Recht, aiis Menschenliebe zu Jiigen" ("On 
the alleged right to lie out of considerations of humanity), by Kant, 


received is probably that its opponents considered that utility 
must necessarily presuppose a selfish motive, which is both 
wrong and unjust. I have already shown, and in Chapter 
XII purpose to show in more detail, that in the last resort 
egoism and altruism by no means exclude each other, but are 
really identical. Now, this modern view it is which is mainly 
based on the works of British philosophers. They success- 
fully endeavored to combat egoism by centering all their re- 
flections around the race, and then laying down ''natural laws 
of benevolence.*' 

The fact that in Germany we are still violently opposed to 
the British is probably mainly due to the Christian conserva- 
tive philosophers, particularly Professor Immanuel Hermann 
Fichte,^ the son of the great Fichte, and Fredrich Julius 
Stahl,^ member of the High Consistory Court. Both these 
men, in the worst reactionary period, blackguarded the Eng- 
lish because of their philosophy, which, as Stahl neatly puts it, 
tends toward revolution. Moreover, both always attribute 
purely egoistic views to Englishmen whenever the latter refer 
to the greatest good of the greatest number (that is, to altru- 
ism). In so doing, however, they utterly ignore Hume, to 
whom this scarcely applies at all, and also Hutchinson. But 
a word to the wise is sufficient, and it was the opinions of 
Fichte and Stahl concerning British philosophy which pre- 

Now, the doctrine propounded by Hobbes^ in the middle 
of the seventeenth century, that morality was due to utility, 
was far from being absolutely new. The Ej)icurean natural 
philosophers had already prepared men's minds for it. Again, 

1 "Die philosophischen Lehren von Recht und Sitte in Deutschland, 
Frankreit'h und England" ("The Philosophical Doctrines of Law and 
Morality in (Germany, France, and England), by J. H. Fichte, 1850. 

2 "Philosophic des Rechtes naeh griechischer Aniseht" ("Tlie Philos- 
ophy of Right according to the Views of the Greeks"), by Friedrich 
Julius 8talii, 1830. 

3"De cive," Paris, 1642; "De hominis natura": London, 1G50, and 
"Leviathan," London, 165 L 


at almost the same time Spinoza^ was teaching similar doc- 
trines at Amsterdam, which, it is true, had for some years 
past ceased to form a part of the German Empire, but was 
still very much under the influence of German ideas. Nev- 
ertheless, it is true that Hobbes was the first systematically 
to base morality on utility. English philosophers, such as 
Butler^ and Paley,^ Priestley,* Hartley,^ and particularly 
Jeremy Bentham,^ who in 1802 first used the word "Utilitari- 
anism,** certainly developed this doctrine ; but at the same time 
they did more and more to efface the egoistic substratum of 
the so-called selfish system by substituting the good of the 
community in general for the good of the individual man. It 
is likewise true that such British writers as Chesterfield ^ 
and Jonathan Swift ^ popularized this system, sometimes be- 
cause they agreed with it, and sometimes ironically. 

It must not be forgotten, however, that the impulse given 
by Hobbes determined the whole trend of ideas throughout 
the civilized world in the ensuing period, and that none of 
the succeeding philosophers in any civilized country could 
shake off his influence. Among those who have drawn prac- 
tical inferences from his works, sometimes pushing them to 
extremes, the Germans were well to the fore ; and in particular 
I might mention Thomasius,* Christian Wolf,^^ Frederick 11,*^ 

iThe chief writings of Spinoza which here come into consideration 
were not published till after his death. 

2 "Three Sermons on Human Nature," by Bishop Joseph Butler, 172G. 
sPaley's "Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy," 1785. 
* Joseph Priestley's "Doctrine of Philosophical Necessity," 1777. 

5 Hartley's "Obserfations of Man, His Frame, His Duty, and His 
Expectations," 1749. 

6 "Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation," by Jeremy 
Bentham, 1789. 

7 ^Particularly in his "Letters to his Son," 1774. 

8 Particularly in his "philosophical travel romance," "Gulliver's 
Travels," 1726. 

» Christian Thoraaaius, a Saxon philosopher and jurist, "Einleitung 
zur Sittenlehre," ("Introduction to the Doctrine of Morality") 1692. 

10 "Philosophia moralis," by the Silesian philosopher, Christian Wolf. 

11 "Examen du prince de Machiavel," 1739, by Frederick II of 
Brandenburg. See also many passages from his letters to Voltaire. 


and Nicolai,^ also Holbach,^ who wrote in French, down to 
Nietzsche. And modern German jurists, such as Beneke,^ 
Ihering,* and Gizycki,^ to say nothing of such men as Kohler, 
adopted an out and out utilitarian standpoint. 

On the other hand, Englishmen, especially Locke,^ but also 
Henry More,^ Cudworth,^ Richard Price, and most of all 
Shaftesbury,^ have protested against this utilitarian doctrine. 

Most important of all, however, David Hume,^*^ one of the 
most brilliant thinkers whom not only England, but the world, 
has ever known, succeeded in showing, basing his arguments 
on Hobbes 's writings, that even without metaphysics it is pos- 
sible, at all events, to recognize the fact that morality may be 
wholly disinterested. He took sympathy as the mainspring of 
his ideas, unconsciously reverting to the Peripatetics, and 
Stoics' conception of it. These schools looked upon the world 
as being held together by sympathy and as simply the ex- 
pression of a single great organism. Hume is therefore really 

1 Christoph Friedrich Nicolai German litterateur and bookseller. 
See especially many volumes of his "Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek," 
("Universal German Library"), in which he voiced the opposition to 
Kant, Fichte, and Goethe; that is, to the then new movement of thought. 

2 "Elements de la morale universelle," by Paul Heinrich Thyry d'Hol- 
bach, 1776. 

3 "Griindsatze der Zivil — und Kriminalgesetzgebung" ( ''Principles of 
Civil and Criminal Legislation") by M. Beneke, 1830. 

4"Kampf urns Recht" ("The Fight for the Right"), in particular 
"Der Zweck im Recht" ("The Object of Right"), by Rudolf von Ihering, 
pp. 77-83. 

5 "Philosophische Konsequenzen der Lamarck-Darwininschen Entwick- 
liingstheorie" ("The Philosophical Consequences of Lamarck's and Dar- 
win's theories of Evolution"), by G. von Gizycki, 1876. 

6 "Essay Concerning Human Understanding," by John Locke, 1690. 

7 "Enchiridion ethicum," by Henry More, 1667. 

8 "Treatise Concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality," by Ralph 
Cudworth, 1731. 

9 "Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions and Times," by Anthony 
Ashley Cooper, third Earl of Shaftesbury, 1713. 

10 Hume ventilated such arguments even in 1738 in his "Treatise upon 
Human Nature," published at the age of twenty-seven. In his later 
works he was constantly departing from modern utilitarianism and 
reverting to these contentions. 


the founder of modem morality, wliich is no longer based on 
metaphysics, but applies to all human beings indiscriminately. 
His doctrines were afterward developed, particularly by John 
Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer, Adam Smith, and Charles Dar- 
win, and to some extent also by the German natural philoso- 

I have instanced all these authors, and I might have in- 
stanced many more, to show how wrongly men's writings are 
frequently interpreted. The modern doctrine of utilitarian- 
ism may, in short, be summarized as **that the aim and object 
of our actions is the greatest possible happiness of the greatest 
possible number of human beings/'^ Now let us see how 
GermaJiy insures this. 

§ 152. — The Evolution of Kantian Morality 

To this practical maxim Kant ^ opposed his categorical im- 
perative. He based it on doctrines extending back as far as 
Plato, although on practical reason as well. According to 
Kant's ''categorical imperative," *'3ian ought to act in accord- 
ance with a maxim which may at the same time prevail as a 
universal law/* 

Now, without expressing an opinion as to the value of and 
basis for these two maxims, it is certain that any one desirous 
of acting morally can do so without infringing either; but it 
is not so certain that any one following only one of them 
must act morally in all circumstances. At all events, no gen- 
eral injustice could ever result from the so-called English 
doctrine, although from the ** German" doctrine a good deal 
inevitably follows which, leaving objective justice out of ac- 
count, seems to us, after all, subjectively right and reasonable. 

Hence the English doctrine is undoubtedly more practical 
than that of Kant, because an objective test can be applied to 
it ; whereas, however much we may try to avoid it, there will 

1 "Introduction, to the Principles of Morals and Legislation," by 
Jeremy Bentham, II, chap. 17, p. 234. 

2 Kant's "Metaphysik der Sitten" ("Metaphysics of Morals"), 


always be a subjective remainder in the case of a categorical 
imperative. Besides this, Kant 's doctrine, strictly interpreted, 
cannot be carried out in practice. Human beings, after all, 
vary greatly, and there is no universal maxim applicable alike 
to a weak-brained person and to a genius. For instance, a 
genius has a right to revolt, but if every human being claimed 
such a right, the result would be universal anarchy. Whether 
a person, however, has a right to resist this sluggish world, he 
alone can decide ; and if he does so without regard to the inter- 
ests of people in general, then he drifts about aimlessly on the 
ocean of limitless subjectivity. 

Now, it is certain that an upright man will act uprightly 
quite apart from Kant, Hobbes, or Hume; while a rogue will 
remain a rogue, whether he call himself a Kantian or a dis- 
ciple of Hobbes. It does not seem a mere chance, however, 
that Hobbes should have been bom in England and Kant in 
Germany, although he was of British descent. The Germans 
have always considered independent, original thought as their 
speciality, and often as their privilege as well. In this respect 
they believe themselves superior to all other nations ; whereas 
the Englishman's love of tradition and of old-established law 
was often ridiculed as a feeling akin to that of slaves ac- 
customed to be driven in gangs. Your Englishman, it was 
said, is, after all, a slave, despite his political liberty. 

Some such distinction there would really seem to be, and 
its causes are probably to be found deep down in the edu- 
cation and peculiar genius of the German and English nations. 
It profoundly influences all the external aspects of life, par- 
ticularly those practical notions of right which have developed 
in both nations as time has gone on. Schopenhauer assuredly 
manifested extraordinary psychological perspicacity when he 
said ^ that the German is all for equity, but the Briton is for 
justice, adding, ''that equity is the enemy of justice, and 
often grossly conflicts with if 

1 "Die beiden Grundprobleme der Ethik" ("The Two Root Problems of 
Ethics"), by Schopenhauer, II, § 17, p. 222. 


This is not the place to discuss which is the nobler quality, 
objective justice or subjective equity, although personally I 
incline to Schopenhauer's view that if human beings are to 
be able to live together, justice is of much the more impor- 
tance. In any case, justice is more suited to everyday life. 

It is interesting to trace what has happened in Germany. 
Setting out from Kant, we have gradually, by a circuitous 
route, via equity, come utterly to deny laws of universal ap- 
plication and wholly to accept a utilitarian doctrine. In Eng- 
land, on the contrary, men have set out from Hobbes, and have 
arrived, by a circuitous route, via Hume's * 'sympathy," un- 
conditionally to admit established standards. 

Kant's morality is based on the subjective categorical im- 
perative, and it is no chance that such a pessimist as Schopen- 
hauer, such an ultra-radical as Stirner, and such a superman 
as Nietzsche, all alleged that the basis of their philosophy was 
Kant. Even if it cannot for a moment be suggested that the 
ideas of any one of these three were unethical, the fact remains 
that it is their school which has produced such men as Moltke 
and Bernhardi, who proclaim the doctrine that for the strong 
man every means, even forcible means, of getting stronger is 

§ 153. — The Abuse of Kant's Doctrine 

Now, even in the ''Handbook of the Usages of Land War- 
fare, ' ' published by the German General Staff, the principle is 
always adopted that the necessities of war override any writ- 
ten law introduced by international conventions. The attitude 
to be adopted toward restrictive legislation of this kind de- 
pends on the judgment of the persons concerned. 

It is easy to see that such instructions, which take no count 
of anything except of possible advantage, strike at the very 
roots of all international agreements, and in particular they 
make the precepts of the Hague Convention about the laws 
and customs of land warfare virtually illusory. As I have 
frequently pointed out, war is restricted and in a sense im- 


peded by such conventions. But if a nation signs them, then 
in so doing it binds itself thenceforward to wage war under 
these more difficult conditions. 

No one denies that the general staff was justified in assum- 
ing that, judging by the experience of warfare, France would 
be most successfully attacked by a march through Belgium. 
The chief ground for this assumption, however, must have 
been that France, relying somewhat on international conven- 
tions, had fortified this part of her frontier less than any 
others. But whether France could be most successfully at- 
tacked via Belgium or not was no longer the question. By the 
neutrality law of 1839 Germany had become a guarantor of 
the inviolability of Belgium, and in so doing she herself 
erected an insurmountable wall along the Belgian frontier. 
She herself had put an obstacle in the way of war, just as 
France had done, although this is now beside the point. And 
now it was for Germany to fight under these more difficult 

She did not do so. She set herself up above objective justice 
as laid down by conventions, arguing that there was so much 
at stake for Germany that it was allowable for her to do what 
best suited her own purposes without troubling about law. I 
am firmly convinced that both the grand general staff and 
Bethmann-Hollweg, who defended Germany's action, were 
subjectively absolutely convinced that in this particular case 
they did right to substitute Germany's advantage for Ger- 
many's duty and that the laws of equity justified their action. 
But these laws of equity can never be definitely ascertained, 
and Germans must not be surprised if others, both nations 
and individual men, do not altogether appreciate them. Eng- 
land, however, declared war as a guarantor of the inviolability 
of Belgian neutrality, as it was her duty to do in accordance 
with the wording of the law which guaranteed it. 

Since the war began there have been more cases of objective 
violations of law. I omit all mention of horrible isolated acts, 
which may be excused op the ground of fear, confusion, lack 


of discipline, or absence of supervision; but some proclama- 
tions of General von Biilovv, Lieutenant-General von Nieber, 
and Field-Marshal von der Goltz cannot be explained except as 
deliberate violations of law. It is to be hoped that the authors 
of these proclamations knew that they flatly conflict with the 
regulations of the Second Hague Conference.^ For instance, 
according to Article 50 of the Hague Convention, no general- 
ized punishment in money or otherwise may be inflicted ; ^ the 
torpedoing of merchant vessels conflicts with the convention 
concerning prize courts ; the use of poisonous gases is expressly 
forbidden, etc. All which is bad, but not the worse. 

War is not a moral action. Now, whoever says A must also 
say B, and he cannot be reproached even if he does so with 
dogged determination. There is no excuse, however, for the 
hypocrisy of those who have remained at home — a hypocrisy 
now coming to light everywhere. We can understand men 
losing their heads when they see the sky illuminated with the 
light of burning villages, but there is no excuse whatever for 
those who write their proclamations by the peaceful light of 
their study lamp. Those who assert that German militarism 
and German civilization are not a contradiction in terms are 
quite right. Even in peace-time, under the influence of mili- 
tarism, there were many who used to advocate individualist 
or, at any rate, social ^'Eud^emonism'* of the most outrageous 
description, and only too frequently they concluded by an 
appeal to Kant.* Now, in war-time, this has become every- 
where the fashion in Germany. 

But let us leave this wretched bastard, the product of the 
womb of Athene, goddess of wisdom, impregnated by Mars — a 

1 "To be hoped," because, let us hope, that German generals are ac- 
quainted with the Hague Conference regulations. 

2 Cf. the late Professor Emile Waxweiler's "Hat Belgien sein Schick- 
sal verdient?" ("Did Belgium deserve her Fate?") Orall Fiisste: 

3 Eudaemonism means happiness or well-being, and in modern ethics 
is used to denote a general type of ethical theory equally removed from 
the extremes of hedonism and abstract rationalism. — ^Translator. 


union which horrified even the imagination of the ancients, 
none too fastidious when it came to a question of the illegiti- 
mate intercourse of the gods. 

It may be, indeed, that there is neither an absolute nor even 
any relative morality, and that consequently we need abide by 
no sort of moral laws whatever. Our martial philosophers are 
perhaps more nearly right than they will even confess to them- 
selves in the coming time of calm consideration and reversion 
to the eternal Kant. But one thing is certain: Kant's own 
country is already conquered. 

§ 154. — A Change of Parts and a Comedy in Consequence 

In conclusion, let me cite a curious parallel. If we set out 
from the delusion that Kantian ethics prevail in Germany, and 
utilitarianism in England, then just now both nations seem to 
have changed places. A dramatic instance of this is the inter- 
view ^ which the British ambassador had on the evening of 
August 4 with the German Imperial Chancellor, which is, so 
to speak, a confirmation of how seldom any human being's 
actions are influenced by his theoretical morality. Bethmann- 
Hollweg, who likes to be called a Kantian, says that, Would 
Great Britain for a mere word "neutrality," a word often 
disregarded in war-time, for a mere' scrap of paper — would 
Great Britain wage war with a nation akin to her in blood, 
whose greatest wish it was to be friends with her? For purely 
strategical reasons it is a matter of life and death for Germany 
to march through Belgium and violate her neutrality. 

In his despatch No. 160 to Sir Edward Grey, dated August 
8, 1914, from London, Sir Edward Goschen says: 

I protested strongly against that statement [that is, that Great 
Britain was responsible for all the terrible events that might hap- 
pen], and said that, in the same way as he and Herr von Jagow 
wished me to understand that for strategical reasons it was a matter 
of life and death to Germany to advance through Belgium and violate 

1 Report of the British Ambassador in Berlin to Sir Edward Grey. 
Despatch No. 160 of August S, 1914. 


the latter's neutralitj', so I would wish him to understand that it 
was, so to speak, a matter of "life and death" for the honour of 
Great Britain that she should keep her solemn engagement to do her 
utmost to defend Belgium's neutrality if attacked. 

The chancellor then asked : 

**But at what price will that compact have been kept ? Has 
the British Government thought of that?*' 

Sir Edward Goschen^s despatch then proceeds: **I hinted 
to his Excellency as plainly as I could that fear of conse- 
quences could hardly be regarded as an excuse for breaking 
solemn engagements/' 

Every word here which the British ambassador says seems 
dictated by the conception of duty, and every word which the 
German says, by the conception of utility. 

The German philosopher Vorlander^ probably had a pre- 
sentiment that this would be so, for as long ago as 1851 he 
wrote: "Those who pursue only the divine ideal of human 
nature without at the same time taking into account the real- 
ity and truth of human life, as we see it in English ethics, lose 
themselves only too easily in an empty, confused idealism, 
which leads to no good in life and does not even enrich our 
knowledge. But whatever be our views on morality, the im- 
portant point for statesmen, more than for any other human 
beings, is not why they do their duty, but that they should 
do it, as even the * ethical' Spinoza said,^ Nee ad imperii 
securitatem refert, quo animo homines inducantur ad res 
publicas recte administrandas, modo recte administrentur. ' '' 

In view of the facts, I think that our professors of philoso- 
phy ought at any rate to cease prostituting themselves and 
Kant and their own nation, and should rather say with Beth- 

1 "Rechtsphilo8ophie und Moral der EnglUnder im 17. imd 18. Jahr- 
hundert" ( "The Philosophy of Right and Morality of the English in the 
Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries"), by the nineteenth-century 
German philoaopher Voriander. In the "Allg. Monatsschrift ftir Wis- 
senschaft und Literatur," p. 366. Cf. also p. 460. 

2 Spinoza, 'Tract, politic," cap. I, §66. 


mann-Hollweg, "Pater, peccavi.'' We have sinned against 
the conception of duties undertaken by thinking altogether too 
much of our own advantage, albeit, perhaps, in the circum- 
stances there was some excuse for this ; but we hope to do our 
best to set matters right again afterward. 

§ 155. — The Inadequacy of Both Bases of Morality 

Whether we base our love of our neighbors on religion or 
on egoism, we can certainly live quite morally; but then in 
neither case have we anything really to keep us from egoism. 
If altruism were only a God-given, inborn sentiment, for which 
there is no visible cause, then of course it can extend only so 
far as this inborn sentiment extends ; and if any one in a par- 
ticular case is inclined to be not altruistic, but too egoistic, then 
it is useless to reason with him, for there is no modifying any 
inborn sentiment. Neither philosophy nor God can change it. 

But if altruism is egoism in disguise, then the original ego- 
ism may of course be entitled, indeed must, to follow altruistic 
sentiments only so long as it seems right to the superordinate 
egoism so to do; and in each individual ease egoism may say 
that altruistic impulses are misplaced. In both cases, in short, 
if any one behaves decently, this is only because he happens to 
be well disposed. On the other hand, if the other person is 
to have an absolute right to proper treatment, this right must 
be based neither on a subjective feeling, nor must it be any- 
thing in the nature of a right voluntarily conceded, as it were, 
from motives of expediency. It must be a right which has 
nothing to do with my personal feelings or my own will. 

So long as morality is not based on actual demonstrable prin- 
ciples, it is simply something in the air, and the modern man 
realizes this only too keenly. Thus Drews,^ the well known 
German student of the life and teachings of Christ, says that 
there is no empirical morality, and that morality would be in 

1 Tlie modern German religiouB philosopher Drews made this state- 
ment in 1910 in an address delivered in Berlin. Whether this has been 
printed or not, I do not know. 


any case inconceivable without God ; but that as morality is a 
necessity, we must, even against reason, hold fast the concep- 
tion of a God, as if for most human beings this were such an 
easy matter ! And Karl Jentsch ^ actually makes the mon- 
strous assertion that "political economy exists for the indi- 
vidual human being." Even he thinks that without belief in 
God there would be no higher aim than the welfare of the 
individual human being, and as political economy must, he 
argues, be independent of belief in God, there is no other 
course left but to base it on the individual human being. 

Clearly the disinclination to bring morality to the plane of 
this earth has very unsatisfactory results. Instead of drawing 
the only possible conclusion from the fact of there being such 
a thing as political economy, something higher than the wel- 
fare of the individual man here below, Jentsch would rather 
deny the fact ; for, after all, it is denying political economy to 
assert that it exists for the individual human being. 

And all this because a morality brought down to and applied 
to this world seems to him positively dreadful! To me it 
seems that the antimonist trend given to our ideas, or, rather, 
the regrettable popularization of antimonist philosophy, is 
responsible for this moral laxity, many more instances of which 
might be given. It is always imagined that if morality is 
not based on categorical imperatives, then it is not morality at 
all, and not worth discussing. 

Let us now see whether it is not possible to find in nature 
the conditions of an objective morality, one which would have 
the incalculable advantage of being independent of our sub- 
jective feelings, be they commendable or the reverse. This is 
possible because of the fact that mankind can be proved to be 
an organism. 

i"Zukuiift" ("Future"), by the German historian Karl Jentsch. 



The Evolution op the Idea of the World as an Organism 


§ 156. — The First Presentiments of There Being a Soul in 
This World 

If a natural scientist is to be able to describe any process 
or occurrence, he must first be able to show how it could come 
about. He can understand the secretion of bile only through 
our anatomical knowledge of the liver. If we are to under- 
stand psychic processes, we must have some knowledge of the 
brain, and to account for altruism in man we should be obliged 
to prove some corresponding organic basis for it. The fact of 
the existence of a personality maintained by a homogeneous 
consciousness explains egoism, indeed in a sense necessitates it. 
Similarly the undeniable existence of altruism means that 
there must be some organic substratum on which it is based, 
and which could consist only in the fact of mankind as a whole 
being also a homogeneous organism and possessing a kind of 
collective consciousness. If this could be proved, then we 
should, at any rate, have some foundation to go upon. 

That mankind is not a mere notion, but a solid fact, may 
seem absurd to many persons ; but there is no denying that the 
noblest representatives of mankind have at all times believed in 
there being a soul in this world. All the higher religions may 
ultimately be traced back to the imperative feeling that an 
isolated human being is not capable of the highest, which he 
can attain only by means of organization. Man is instinc- 
tively felt to belong to some larger association or community. 
True, he cannot clearly grasp this fact, and he is therefore 



irresistibly impelled to endeavor to express his vague divina- 
tion by the mystical word God. 

Here we have the moral — that is, the human — foundation of 
all religion, and not until such a God of man becomes deified 
is there anything contrary to morality in it. Obviously, if 
God no longer represents mankind, but is something extra- 
human, so to speak, then the individual man has a God who is 
*'too sublime" for him, and he acquires a right to lord it over 
everything, with an egoism knowing no bounds. In fact, this 
is exactly what has come to pass everywhere. 

But when attempts were made to comprehend this dimly 
conceived divinity by means of the intellect, or at any rate to 
bring it into line with the intellect; when, for instance, the 
Hellenes first began to indulge in philosophic speculation, even 
then we find references to this soul of the world, as if it were 
something needing no explanation. 

Everything, in fact, which we continue to say, with half- 
melancholy resignation about the vanished harmony of the 
Greek conception of the world may be traced back to the fact 
that the divine idea of a world one and indivisible still sur- 
vived in this Greek people, so simple, yet so wise. In reality, 
the hylozoism of Thales ^ and the other six wise men of Greece 
is nothing but the belief that the whole world is a single great 
organism. Even for Heraclitus ^ everything had a soul and 
was full of demons; even he believed that everything had a 
consciousness and did its share of thinking; ^ he believed there 
to be a universal ''world fire" common to everything, which 

1 Aristotle, "De Anima," I, 2, says expressly of Thales that he taught 
that even stones had a soul. [Thales was the chief of the seven wise 
men of ancient Greece, was a native of Miletus, and flourished from 
about 600 to 540 B. c. In philosophy he sought for a single element out 
of which the whole world was formed. This he thought to be moisture. 
— Translator.] 

2 In Diogenes Laertes, L. 9. 7. [Heraclitus of Ephesus is said to 
have been the first philosopher to proclaim the absolute life of nature, 
and the conception of an unconditional rational law governing the 
whole course of nature. — Translator.] 

3 Sextus Empiricus, ad math. VIII 286. 


for him also meant universal intelligence, a conception prob- 
ably similar to that of the Brahman of the Upanishads.^ AH 
the pre-Socratic thinkers held such views, as did also the whole 
Greek nation, which expressed its aspirations by creating for 
itself the world of Greek divinities, the lost beauty of which 
has been touchingly lamented by Schiller. 

With Socrates, to whom we otherwise owe much, first came 
strife into the world. He first began to set man on a pinnacle. 
He believed that man, owing to his moral greatness, could 
be contrasted with the rest of nature. True, he also ex- 
pounded ethical doctrines of a wondrous pathos which have 
endured to this day and seem destined to endure for all time. 
But perhaps precisely because of these doctrines and his con- 
viction of their profound value, although he could not fully 
establish them, Socrates believed that ethics could not in any 
case be explained or proved, but at best only taught. All 
post-Socratic religion and ethics, in so far as they were dog- 
matic, never did more than attempt to supply this lack of basis 
or justification. 

Now, certainly no one ought to think that in Socrates him- 
self this great cleavage is always clearly perceivable. In his 
"Daimonium" there still sur\'ives something of that old Fate 
which his ancestors had revered, that superhuman Fate which 
created Greek tragedy, and which even the ancient Teutons 
revered under the form of that sway of the Norns to which 
even gods must bow. 

§ 157.— The Post-SocraUcs 

All these doctrines and ideas are mystical symbols of the pro- 
foundly realized fact that the destiny of us human beings, 
despite all our self-seeking and self-will, nevertheless works out 
in accordance with great laws, eternal and unbending. But 
men then were trying not merely to feel the world, but also 
to understand it, and they found it extraordinarily hard to 

1 Upanishad, or Vedanta, a system of ancient Hindu philosophy which 
endeavors to investigate the true nature of the human soul. — ^Trans- 


understand what had hitherto been simply felt and taken on 
trust. Hence they thought they could overcome the difficulty 
by coining the phrase, *' Man's freedom as a moral being is 
something outside the constraint to which nature is subjected. ' ' 
The glorious effects, fraught with vast consequences, of man's 
having thus insisted on his freedom must not blind us to the 
fact that in so doing he put himself so to speak *' outside 
nature. '* 

So long as the cause of this contrast between man and 
nature was not absolutely cleared up, all attempts to unite the 
two inevitably ended in mysticism or rationalism. Such at- 
tempts continued until Kant 's time, yet even he did not quite 
explain the enigma. He did, however, prepare the way for 
its solution by contrasting the opposite conclusions reached by 
considering matters from the point of view of pure reason and 
of the actual hard fact. If Kant had not at last attempted a 
mystical or transcendental solution of the problem, the world 
would have probably perceived more clearly than it did that 
his point of view was nearest the truth. 

Two thousand years separate Socrates from Kant, and all 
this time that superordinate principle survived which the 
wise men of old accepted and believed in as the soul of the 
world; but gradually it developed into a conception of divin- 
ity removed from human comprehension. Gradually, there- 
fore, the harmony of the terrestrial world, as taught by the 
Pythagoreans, degenerated into a harmony of a purely supra- 
sensual world. 

Even in Plato's writings the homogeneousness of the world 
is generally represented only by the demiurgos<,^ who created 
the world homogeneous, and whose visible emanations are the 
celestial bodies. Man, on the contrary, is a miniature God 
unto himself, an imitation or image of the immortal gods. 

Even in Aristotle we get only glimpses of the world's soul 
as conceived by his predecessors. For instance, he refers to a 

1 Demiurgos is the name applied by Plato to the creator of the uni- 
verse, — Translator. 


plant soul/ For him, as for Plato, even each separate state 
is a living being, a zooriy a substance ** bearing in itself the 
principle of its motion and having a tendency to change." 
Thus did the state come within the province of natural science, 
and become something to be investigated by the same methods 
as all animate beings; that is, by experimental analysis.^ 
Many other references to some such idea may be found. Thus 
Aristotle says that a slave is an organ of the family, **a part 
of his master, as it were, a part of his body, but with a separate 
existence and a soul.'* Of a popular assembly he says that 
it is a single consciousness, a single intelligence. The discus- 
sions preceding a collective decision precisely resemble the 
way in which an individual man takes counsel with himself, 
except that the collective person, having more organs at its 
disposal, and wider and more varied experience, is correspond- 
ingly wiser. Aristotle also expressly states that whether the 
different parts of an organization are in contact with one an- 
other or not is comparatively immaterial ; for the real basis of 
the organization is rather the mutual relationships of life. 

Similarly many hints occur in Aristotle that groups of 
human beings are to be considered as organisms, but the broad 
general idea of humanity was then waxing dim, and he says 
nothing about a collective soul of the world. This conception, 
indeed, survived in a far more definite form among the Stoics, 
whose "pneuma*' — a something which can move of itself and 
think for itself — embraces the entire world, and is therefore 
merely the old hyolozoist soul of the world, only more vigor- 
ously conceived. The Stoics were afterward joined by Plo- 
tinus ^ who insists on the homogeneity of individual souls ; by 

1 Aristotle, "De Anima," II, 2, 413. 

2 Idem, I, 113. 

sPIotiniis, founder of the Neo-Platonic system of philosophy. He 
held that the soul is the one source of knowledge, that the Deity can 
be grasped by intuition only; that after the Deity, the productive of 
all existence, comes the universal soul or spirit; and out of the spirit 
is developed the soul. Kingsley's "Hypatia" gives some idea of Plo- 
tinus's philosophy. — ^Translator. 


the Manicheans,^ the Christians, and, above all, by Origen. 


§ 158. — The Scholastic Victory Over Primitive Christendom 

The Christians believed in the pneuma hagion, in a sacred, 
vivifying, inspiring force, uniting together every individual 
soul.^ This pneuma hagion was the world soul, but a body 
was likewise attributed to this world. Thus St. Paul says : 

' * For as we have many members in one body, and all mem- 
bers have not the same office : 

"So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one 
members one of another. ' ' * 

This last sentence is perhaps the best and assuredly the 
most searching definition ever given of an organism and the 
mutual relations of its parts or members one with another. 

In amazement we might well ask ourselves how the plain 
men who wrote the sacred Scriptures attained to such wisdom. 
They probably knew nothing of the conception of an organism, 
nor even of human society. And yet they could define both 
with the utmost clarity ! But how did they do so ? This ap- 
parent marvel can be understood only if we take the fact 
which we would fain prove as being already proved, "Uni- 
versal human love is the feeling which testifies to the health of 
the universal human organism.*' Both these things are in- 
separably bound up with each other, and primitive Christian- 
ity was so profoundly penetrated with charity, or man's love 

1 Manicheism, whose originator was Mani, born in Babylon about a. d. 
216, and put to death, by crucifixion and flaying, taught that the spirits 
of light send a succession of prophets to earth — ^Noah, Abraham, 
Zoroaster, Buddha, and Jesus patibilis, who is a pure spirit, and his 
body merely a phantom. Mani himself claimed to be the last such 
prophet, destined to carry on the work of Christ and Paul — ^the separa- 
tion of light from darkness. — Translator. 

2 Cf . p. 451 et seq., concerning the conception of the Holy Ghost. 

» Romans XII, 4 and 5. This conception developed in process of time 
into the purely dogmatic and in reality quite incomprehensible modern 
conception of the "Holy Ghost." 


of his fellow-man, that this sacred love was the source whence 
it derived the strength intuitively to perceive the practical 
effect of such love. Without laying too great stress on intui- 
tive perceptions of truth, we may yet say that every one who 
believes in the power of the soul to elicit the truth should in- 
scribe in letters of gold these verses from the Epistle to the 

The close and obviously inevitable connection of this Pauline 
precept with the conception of universal human love is also 
clear from the fact that even Seneca,^ who in this respect 
thought absolutely as a Christian, agrees with St. Paul in con- 
sidering individual human beings as members of one great 
superordinate living body. 

Christianity, therefore, seemed destined to make widely 
known the ancient Hellenic idea of harmony in the world, and 
in the first centuries after Christ even the millenarians hoped 
that, at any rate at some future time, the kingdom of God 
would prevail on earth. TertuUian in particular did so; and 
even Origen, who disagreed with the millenarians in this re- 
spect, holds similar views ; for he expressly states that ^ * ' The 
whole world is like a great animal animated by one soul and 
one only. ' ' Herein he shows his affinities with St. Paul, at the 
same time laying down that principle which the writer would 
fain have seen recognized. This principle can be expressed in 
up-to-date language as follows: the cells in an animal, taken 
together, form a single large organism. Similarly all isolated 
individuals taken together form a superordinate organism, a 
statement which is to be understood quite literally, and not 

In the interval, however, the world came under the influence 
of the Christian scholastics, and for centuries this conception 
survived merely as a symbol, overgrown and hidden by tran- 

i"Omne hoc quod vides, quo divina atque«-humaiia conclusa sunt, 
unum est: membra sumus corporis magni." Seneca, Letter 95. 

2 Origen, "De Princip., 1, 1, 3, says: ''Universnm mundum velut ani- 
mal quoddam immensam atque opiniandum puto, quod quasi ah una 
anima virtute dei ac ratione teneaturj' 


scejidental Christian mysticism. Even Augustine^ trans- 
formed an idea, which after all is based only on natural sci- 
ence, into something purely spiritual and religious. This 
great father of the church was unfortunately succeeded by the 
entirely Christian philosophers of the Middle Ages, of whom 
Abelard may be specially mentioned. Thomas - alone is a 
notable exception. These philosophers systematically ignored 
the clear definitions of Aristotle, whom otherwise they es- 
teemed highly, as was always the case with those who could 
not apply his teachings. Human society was stated not to be 
a natural, but only an artificial, mechanism, possibly a creation 
of the devil. With it was contrasted, as being a true organ- 
ism, the heavenly kingdom of God, and here again that actual 
kingdom of which men dreamed created a confusion in their 
conceptions of life. 

§ 159. — Renaissance and Reaction 

Thus matters remained until the natural philosophers of the 
Renaissance once more reverted to the pan-psychic ideas of 
Grecian mythology. Then, when the world seemed wholly 
given over to killing and fighting, the best mortals, who rightly 
called themselves humanists, once again became aware of a 
longing for humane ways and ideas. They remembered Greek 
harmony and unity, or, as they occasionally called it, equality. 
From the teachings of the church they selected the fraternity 
of the early Christians, and they even had an inkling of the 
liberty which knowledge was one day to confer on them. 

Since then liberty, equality, and fraternity have unmistak- 
ably progressed. True, the mass of mankind have neither 
Greek, Christian, nor scientific leanings, and consequently are 
not humane either. They oppress their inferiors and bow 
down to their superiors ; and as regards the human race, it is 
just the same. They imagine that a God rules over them and 
that the animal kingdom is subject to them. 

1 St. Augustine in his "De Civitate dei libris, XXII," XIV, 28. 

2 Thomas, "De regim. princ." I, 1. 


Since the Renaissance, however, man has begun to feel that 
there exists an inward link between himself and nature; and 
when Leibnitz died some notion of man's resemblance both to 
God and beast had already filtered through even to the darkest 
regions of Europe. This trend of thought it was which was 
destined to be decisive in the future, but as yet such ideas did 
not generally prevail. The potentates of those days were still 
equally alarmed at the notion of man resembling God and at 
that of his resembling the beasts of the field; and although 
these heretical views first made their appearance decently in 
the garb of orthodox Christianity, yet the church was astute 
enough to perceive the young swan in the duck's egg almost 
before it was hatched. 

We need not here discuss what was done with God. He be- 
came more and more fined down and exclusive, with less and 
less of the human about Him, until at length, in 1854, the 
dogma was put forth that the birth even of the mother of God 
was stainless. Similarly animals were represented as having 
no resemblance to human beings, a school of thought of which 
Descartes, who said they were machines, is a typical instance. 
St. Francis of Assisi was not exactly placed on the index, but 
the sense of his poems to Brother Wolf and Brother Sun was 
scouted. After all, that period was beginning in which the 
church helped to erect barriers between different categories of 
human beings. How, therefore, was it to recognize our 
brothers in trees and shrubs or in air and water ? 

Thus began a time when the natural man, and with him 
natural society, was once more combated as in the darkest 
period of the Middle Ages, only more systematically and more 
strictly in accordance with dogmatic principles. There was 
even opposition to those who from purely religious sentiment 
would fain have been brothers in Christ or in nature. Yet 
such men were many — a whole series of them, indeed, from 
St. Francis of Assisi to Angelus Silesius ^ and from Christian 

1 Johannes Angelus Silesius, whose real name was Johann Scheffler, 
was induced by the writings of Bohme and other mystics to join the 


to Goethe. The conception of mankind as an organism seemed 

The seventeenth century had still not shaken off these in- 
fluences, when men were continually endeavoring to prove that 
although man had natural qualities, he had also purely spirit- 
ual gifts, which put him on a plane above nature. Thus 
Hobbes,^ in his ** Leviathan/' expressly states that natural 
animal societies, such as the communities in which bees, ants, 
beavers, and other creatures live, have nothing in common 
with human society, which is based on human intelligence. 
Spinoza,^ indeed, as is well known, believed the whole world 
to have a soul, '^quamvis diversis gradibus animata'^ ; and 
elsewhere he says that whenever a large number of human 
beings act in virtue of a right that they all have in common, 
it seems as if they all had a soul in common. Thus he reverts 
to Aristotle's views; but the "soul of a state" is to him merely 
a creation of the human mind and its conscious reflection, not 
the other way about. 

The reversion to Grecian harmony would have been easiest 
for Leibnitz, for according to his theory each individual body 
consists of an unlimited number of separate monads. Conse- 
quently, nothing would have been simpler than to apply to 
society this conception of individuals separated by space, but 
yet forming a unit. Leibnitz says somewhere that every plant 
and every animal may be considered in the light of a large 
garden full of flowers or a pond full of fish. But every branch 
of a plant and every limb of an animal, indeed every drop of 
its secretions, can also be considered in the light of such a 
garden or such a pond. Yet, so far as I am aware, Leibnitz 
never directly hints that he looks upon the world as an organ- 
Roman Catholic Church. His mysticism has much in common with 
Schopenhauer's philosophy. 

iHobbes' "Leviathan," 1650. Published in German in 1794. p. 165 
(of German edition). Similar views were held by Bossuet, for in- 
stance (de la connaisaance de Dieu et de soi-m4me" IV, 11), Locke, 
and others. 

2 Spinoza's "Ethics," II, prop. XIII, dealing with politics. 


ism, perhaps because he saw no necessity to express in words 
what he undoubtedly thought quite obvious. Leibnitz was a 
thorough cosmopolitan not only because, owing to his prin- 
ciples, he could hardly be otherwise, but for other reasons also. 
Bom in Leipsic, he wrote in French, and his **Monadology'' 
is an attempt to combine ** English and Fl-ench philosophy.'* 
His correspondence shows him to have been the trusted friend 
of persons of all nationalities, and indeed his greatness con- 
sists partly, at all events, in his having been truly a man at 
home in many lands. It would certainly never have even 
occurred to him that a thinking being, least of all any one 
styling himself a philosopher, could take sides in the War of 
the Spanish Succession, in which his various home-lands were 
involved. Leibnitz, indeed, did not see danger in men being 
biased in favor of one particular land, and therefore did noth- 
ing to prevent being so. In short, he overestimated men's 
intellects, even as, a hundred years later, Bonaparte overesti- 
mated nations. 

Thus matters went on for a long time, and even Rousseau 
based his ** reversion to nature" on no considerations of nat- 
ural science or even of nature. To him the word nature, in 
conformity with which he wanted his society to be ordered, was 
still altogether an idea in the Platonic sense. This idea Rous- 
seau modified very much as it suited him to do. Whereas, in 
reality nature is everywhere bound by her own laws, for him 
nature is merely a symbol of liberty. 


160. — Its Forerunners 

Yet the belief persisted that this world here below is in a 
certain sense an organism complete in itself and by itself ; and, 
despite the church and its quest of heavenly bliss, the torch of 
knowledge was passed from one to another, and the smoldering 
spark thus kept alive. The history of the idea of the world 
as an organism, and how it arose, would be undoubtedly one 


of rare fascination to write; but here it can be given only in 
broadest outline. 

About the year 1500 Nicolas Leon Thomyeus ^ was already 
insisting that there must be some link between individual 
human beings, which he used as an argument for the possibility 
of second sight and "natural prophecy/' About 1550 Car- 
danus - ascribed to the world a real life of its own {propriam 
et veram vitam) ; in 1581 Giordano Bruno ^ wrote of natura 
naturans, and Paracelsus* the great regenerator's ** Consen- 
sus^' and Patritius's **Panpsychia" " are all merely different 
ways of expressing their common belief in the world being an 

These few instances, however, can scarcely afford any idea 
of how prevalent throughout the sixteenth century was the 
idea of the world as an organism ; and to cite further instances 
would take me too far. I shall confine myself, therefore, to 
quoting the words of Rixner and Siber,'' who have devoted a 
bulky volume to nothing but the opinions of these courageous 
*' innovators" in the domain of natural science. The con- 
clusion to which they come is that, however widely different 
may be the views, characteristics, knowledge, education, and 
mode of life of the sixteenth century scientists and thinkers, 
they all agreed in considering nature as a living thing. All 

1 Thomseus, quoted from Rixner. 

2 Cardanus's "De subtilitate rerum/* 1550 V. opp. Ill, 374 and 439, 
and XVIII, p. 491 ed. 1663, ''utramque esse in rehus veramque earum 
constituere eitam.'* 

3 Giordano Bruno. Extract from his works by F. H. Jacob, 1789, p. 

4 Paracelsus, "Archido,'* Vol. I. According to Paracelsus, a Swiss 
physician and naturalist, human beings take part in the universal life 
by means of their sidereal or astral body. 

5 Patritius, "Nova de imiversis Philosophia." Ferrara, IV, 54, and 
V, 58. 

6 Thaddeus A. Rixner and Siber's "Leben und Lehrmeinungen be- 
rtihmter Physiker am Ende des XVI. und am Anfang des XVII Jahr- 
hunderts. Heft: Paracelsus XV." (''Life and Doctrines of Famous 
Physicists at the Close of the Sixteenth and Beginning of the Seven- 
teenth Centuries.") 


nature was to them a universal organism, instinct with joyous 
life in all its component parts. The principal philosophers 
quoted are Theophrastus Paracelsus, Hieronymus Cardanus, 
Bernhardinus Telesius, Franciscus Patritius, Jordanus 
Brunus, Thomas Campanella, and Johann Baptist van Hel- 

In the seventeenth century these ideas were more clearly 
formulated. Suarez,^ for instance, says that the individual is 
only a partial manifestation of the genus ; Francis Bacon ^ as- 
serts that there is sensibility everywhere; and Campanella^ 
does likewise ; while Fielnus ^ proves that civilization is ever- 
living and immortal, whence he concludes that the world must 
have an immortal soul. Even Pascal ^ warns us against insist- 
ing too much on the difference between man and animals, alleg- 
ing that this makes us overbearing; and in a famous passage 
he expressly compares mankind to an individual person ; while 
Newton,^ who actually compiled laws of the world as an organ- 
ism and who was very much disposed to favor such ideas in 
general, once, for purely physical reasons, refers to the earth 
as a "lazy animal.'* 

1 "Metaphysic. disputat.," by the Spanish Jesuit theologian Francisco 

2 "Ubique est perceptio," in Bacon's "De dignitate," IV., 3, 1G25. 

3 "Omnem naturam sentire affirmandum est," in Campanella's "De 
sensu rerum," I, i, 13. 

4"Theologia Platonica," Book XVIII, by Marsilius Ficinus (or Mar- 
silio Ficino, as he is more often known in English, the Italian physician 
and Platonic philosopher, born Florence, 1433, died 1499. His book 
referred to was published in 1482, and intended to show Platonism to 
be the essence of Christian belief. — ^Translator). 

5 Pascal, "Pensees sur la religion." 

« Sir Isaac Newton's "Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica," 
published 1687. Even the attractive principle, in Newton's writings, 
and still more in those of his disciples Muschenbroek, for instance, has 
a strong tendency toward animism, and describes the attractive prin- 
ciple as ^'amitia" (friendship). Lichtenberg says quite plainly that 
gravitation is the longing of the heavenly bodies for one another. Cf. 
further the phrase "living force" or vis viva, which, I believe, was first 
used by Leibnitz. 


Early in the following century Shaftesbury^ went the 
length of saying that however perfect an organism (system) 
an individual human being may be, yet in order to see real 
perfection he must be placed in relation to the organism of his 
race. On the whole, however, the rationalistic eighteenth cen- 
tury was less favorable to speculations of this kind, which, in 
the state of learning at that time, could not but be slightly 
tinctured with mysticism. This somewhat sentimental point 
of view is found even in Fechner,^ who not only believed in a 
humanity being an organism, but who looked on all the stars 
and solar systems as living beings. Dreamy speculations such 
as these, however, have done more harm than good. Poets, it 
was thought, had a right to endow everything about them with 
a soul, but thinkers ought to leave such matters alone.^ In 
modern times men came to realize the value of empirical in- 
vestigations, for the time had more or less gone by for philo- 
sophical speculations, and men were beginning to look out for 
facts pointing to the necessity for there being some link be- 
tween one human being and another, and to the existence of a 
great human organism. 

It is well known that the *' suitability and wisdom of the 
institutions of nature ' ' had always been instanced as arguing 
the presence of a supreme being, who, however, was usually 
thought of as God only. Even Parker,* for instance, thought 
it needful, because of the reason and purpose which he every- 
where perceived in nature, to infer the presence of a God. 
Ralph Cudworth,^ also, while remarking that the constant 
maintenance of a proper equilibrium between births and 
deaths in the matter of numbers and differences of sex pointed 

1 "Moralists" II, 4, by the third Earl of. Shaftesbury. Translated 
into German apparently in 1910. 

2 "Zendavesta," S. VI, by Gustav Theodor Fechner, pub. 1851. Cf. 
aUo "Tagesansicht," p. 29. 

3 "Zur Einfiihrung in die Philosophic der Gegenwart" ("Introduction 
to the Philosophy of the Present day"), by Alois Riehl, p. 161, pub- 
lished in 1903. 

4 Parker, "Disputatio de Deo," p. 114. 

6 *'The True Intellectual System of the Universe," by Ralph Cudworth. 


to the existence of a supreme wisdom, guiding the apparently 
fortuitous course of this world, saw nothing but God in this 

§ 161. — Modern Empiricism 

Empirical facts, however, accumulate as time goes on, and 
Kant took advantage of this.^ But he ceased to have anything 
to do with a deus ex macKind, thereby being probably again the 
first to enter upon the way which leads to modern science. He 
took as his starting-point the contradiction between man's fet- 
ters and the freedom of which he dreams, and asserted from 
the outset that the organic laws of mankind clearly limit free- 
dom. Human actions, like everything else in nature, are 
determined by natural laws. At first sight, for instance, it 
seems that marriages and consequently births and deaths 
could not be subject to any rule, because they are so greatly 
dependent on man's free wiU. Yet statistics in large coun- 
tries prove that they, too, are under the influence of fixed nat- 
ural laws. Kant compared this unvarying regularity, which 
is independent of man's will, with the weather, which is so 
uncertain that no one can arrange it beforehand, but yet in the 
main it is so certain that the growth of plants, the course of 
streams, and other natural phenomena always go on in the 
same way without interruption. 

Climate, however, can be explained by the laws which govern 
the earth considered as a homogeneous heavenly body; and 
similarly these laws of humanity, in themselves inexplicable, 
can be explained by considering humanity as an organism. 
Kant, it is true, had no idea of any such explanation. He 
says that individual, human beings and even whole nations 
persist in thinking that, by each pursuing his or its own ends 
each in his or its own way, and often pulling different ways, 
they are tending insensibly to fulfil nature's ends, despite the 

1 "Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbUrgerlicher Absicht" 
("A Forecast of a History of the World from the Point of View of a 
Citizen of the World"), by Kant. 


fact that nature's ends are unknown to them. They persist- 
ently believe that nature's ends are their guiding principle, 
and that they are helping to further these ends. Yet even if 
they did know what nature 's ends are, they would trouble but 
little about them. Kant also recognizes that the actions of 
individual human beings cannot be wholly explained by their 
individual characteristics, but he does not say what would 
explain them. As is so often the case with Kant, however, two 
frankly admitted contrasts are clearly stated, and thus further 
scientific investigation is simplified. All that was now re- 
quired was, if possible, not merely to represent the divergence 
between restrictions collectively imposed and personal liberty 
as a virtually insoluble problem, but to bridge the gulf be- 
tween the two.^ 

1 Here I would request the reader to re-read the paragraph concerning 
freedom and natural compulsion, in which it is shown how this can be 
done by the fact of the brain having been actually freed from the 
body. I now purpose to prove that tlie freedom thus acquired is again 
restricted by the long-suspected fact, which natural scientists did not 
clearly recognize till the last century, that mankind as a whole forms 
an organism in the strictest sense of the word. 


The World as an Organism 

1, — the physical reasons p^or mankind forming an organism 
§ 162. — Hypotheses and Facts 

If anything in this world is not instantly traceable to facts, 
recourse is had to a hypothesis. For example, when it is found 
impossible to explain certain phenomena in connection with 
light, we postulate an ether, or small particles moving with 
extraordinary speed, or something of the kind. Such a hy- 
pothesis is all the more generally accepted, the greater the 
number of demonstrable facts which can be explained by it; 
but if a fact is found which conflicts with such a hypothesis, 
then the latter must of course be dropped. 

Thus the theory of the emission of light was overthrown 
when the phenomena of polarization could no longer be recon- 
ciled with it ; and at present the theory of undulation is being 
questioned because certain electric phenomena, undoubtedly 
connected with light, conflict with it. Every theory, there- 
fore, remains uncertain until the phenomenon on which it is 
based can be directly observed. Could we succeed in proving 
the existence of actual light particles or of ether, this would 
be a much more direct proof than any theory deduced there- 

Similarly with regard to the theory of mankind being an 
organism. Even if there is much in the life of man and na- 
tions to indicate that there must be some connecting-link be- 
tween individual human beings, and the number and varied 
nature of the relations between man and man make it probable 
that there is some such organism^ nevertheless, the smallest 



direct proof would be perhaps not actually more important, 
but more decisive from the point of view of science. 

Modem men, indeed, although most of them would deny this, 
are mostly infected with the belief that all solid fact must be 
material. The proof of dynamic effects between human be- 
ings — effects which Aristotle thought sufficient and which in 
fact still are sufficient, to prove that mankind must be consid- 
ered as an organism — seems to us almost immaterial, and we 
noisily insist on the proof of an actual physical connection. 
Every reader will here derisively object that mankind as a 
whole surely cannot be compared with a single animal. Be- 
tween the tip of an animal's nose and the tip of its tail there 
certainly exists a vital physical connection, but what connec- 
tion is there between a European and a Tierra del Fuegian, 
between Kant and Eucken, between Frederick II and William 
II, between the man in the trenches and Hindenburg, or be- 
tween Hindenburg and Joffre? 

Now, although it would not be absolutely necessary to prove 
that a bridge of some actual substance exists between all these 
individual persons, for the dynamically living bridge would 
suffice, yet in conformity with the materialistic requirements 
of the present day, it must first be shown that there does actu- 
ally exist a uniform continuously living connection which has 
always subsisted, between all human beings in all ages £ind all 
lands, and that, moreover, it is actually in operation. 

Not till this has been done can the connections between the 
various forces be investigated, which, resting on this substan- 
tial basis, make mankind into an organism which can be taken 
into practical consideration. Unlike the substantial basis, 
which remains almost unchanged, these connections between 
forces develop as time goes on, and every day make the human 
organism more of a unity and of more importance. 

§ 163. — The Contmuity of Germ-Plasm 

The continuity of germ-plasm points to some such physical 
link between one human being and another. As long ago as 


1878 Jager^ advocated this idea, and two years later Nuss- 
baum 2 did likewise. It did not become generally known, how- 
ever, until Weissmann ^ made his comprehensive investigations 
of Hydromedusce, This doctrine of Weissmann 's is now so 
thoroughly admitted everywhere that Delage and Goldsmith * 
speak of the ** difference between soma and germ-plasm" as a 
fact of common knowledge. They explain that soma dies with 
the individual, whereas germ-plasm lives on in posterity, and 
is thus "immortal and continuous." Hypothesis does not 
come in, they say, except in the particular deductions made 
by Weissmann from this fact — deductions which do not con- 
cern us. What does concern us is the * * fact of common knowl- 
edge," which can be easily understood by means of the ac- 
companying diagram. 

Every egg-cell (thus Cell A in Fig. 9), out of which an 
animal or human being is afterward developed, first splits up 
once into two parts, of which one, the dark half, grows rapidly, 
forms the entire body, dies with that body, and disappears 
with it. This is indicated by the arrow turned toward space. 
The other light-colored half of the cell, however, does not 
grow, but remains living germ-plasm, merely arranging itself 
differently, and converting itself into seed-cells or egg-cells. 
In Cells Bl and B2 in the diagram this process is indicated by 
the uninterruptedly light coloring of the germ-plasm. The 
seed-cells or egg-cells which subsist in the testicles or ovaries 
of a human being are therefore not merely symbolically, but 

1 Jager's "Lehrbuch der allgemeinen Zoologie" ( "Handbook of Uni- 
yersal Zoology"), 1878: Leipsic. 

2 "Die Differenzierimg des Geschlechta im Tierreich" ("The Differ- 
entiation of Sex in the Animal Kingdom"), by M. Nussbaum (1880). 
In the "Archives for Microscopical Anatomy," XVIII. 

3 "Die Entstehung der Sexualzellen bei den Hydromedusen" ("The 
Origin of sexual cells in the Hydromedusae" ) , by A. Weissmann, 1883. 
Cf. a later work by this German zoologist, which is very comprehensive, 
"Das Keimplasma, eine Theorie der Vererbung*' ("Germ Plasm, a The- 
ory of its Inheritance"). 1898: Jena. 

*"Die Entwicklungstheorien" ("Theories of Evolution"), by Delage 
AndM. Goldsmith. (An authorised translation exists in German.) 



quite genuinely, living pieces of his or her parents. And as 
they are transmitted unchanged and alive to our children 
(Gl to 04), and then to our children's children (Dl to D8, 
etc.), it is a fact that a portion of grandfather, grandchild, 
great-grandchild, etc., does consist of the same living sub- 
stance. And as we can and must continue in this way indefi- 
nitely (as indicated by the side branches of cells A and D left 
open), it is clear that the tree shaded light, which is all one 
and is constantly putting forth fresh branches, represents a 
single organism all parts of which are connected together. 

Prom this the individual human beings (tinted dark and 
designated as individual beings by letters) grow, just as apples 
do on a tree. They are like particles of this organism; in 
time they fall away, and in so doing become individual units, 
and die. 

But the tree of germ-plasm which confers form and exist- 
ence on the different individual units, and is consequently the 
principal important part of humanity, lives on forever as a 
homogeneous organism. A portion of this homogeneous or- 
ganism, however, lives also in each individual unit, physically 
connecting us permanently with mankind in general. True, 


it can be eliminated from the human body without utterly de- 
stroying life, but what there is left of the man is proved by 
such deplorable beings as eunuchs and castrated persons. All 
recent experiments, indeed, clearly show that all those instincts 
of life which make a human being into a human being are in- 
separably connected with this remnant of mankind in general 
which we have in us. It lives in us and manifests itself in us. 
Egoism represents, so to speak, physical self -consciousness, and 
altruism represents self-consciousness of the germ-plasm. 
Others have, therefore, as we see, a right represented in me, 
for a portion of their living substance also lives in me. 

Whoever first spoke of the slaying of egoism as a slaying of 
the flesh had a foreboding of more than he expressed. For 
the flesh is the perishable body, which falls from the universal 
tree of humanity. That which remains, however, that which 
makes men capable of love (that is, of morality in the broadest 
sense of the word) is germ-plasm, or what the Holy Scripture 
calls the sacred pneuma "capable of procreation.'* Luther 
translated this by '^der Geist, der lehendig macht^^ ("The 
spirit that quickeneth " ) , thus attributing a purely symbolical 
meaning to it. The conception of pneuma, however, goes be- 
yond this, and cannot be understood save by those acquainted 
with its origin in Greek philosophy. Into this I am unable 
to enter in detail, but Diogenes Laertes expressly states, ' * That 
which causes the procreation of us all is the pneuma, ' ' ^ thus 
meaning precisely what we may now call germ-plasm. More- 
over, just as we must now make up our minds that an almost 
imponderable quantity of germ-plasm ^ influences the whole 
body, even so the men of old imagined the mysterious workings 
of the "Holy Spirit." 

In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of St. John, verse 63, we 
read, "It is the spirit [pneuma] that quickeneth; the flesh 
profiteth nothing. ' ' Thus the Bible also must really be ref er- 

1 Diogenes Laertes VII, 156. 

2 The body of a human being is about one thousand billion times 
greater than the germ-plasm from which it has arisen. 


ring to germ plasma. Now, there is no need to state that this 
pneuma is never clearly expressed either in Greek writings 
or in the Bible what we now mean by germ plasm. Neverthe- 
less, it is important to recollect that those who wrote the Bible 
felt, as it were, intuitively, that it existed. The concep- 
tion of the crucifying of the flesh, indeed, has been grossly mis- 
interpreted. Flesh was identified with sensuality and with 
love, — indeed, after a time, almost altogether with love, — and 
the pneuma with the *' higher '* attributes of the soul. That 
this is wrong is clear from I Corinthians, xv. 44 ^ where the 
soul is mentioned in contradistinction to the pneuma. It is a 
pneumatic body to which reference is here made; and this 
body, if we hold fast to what is known to have been the mean- 
ing of the pneumatic in ancient times, actually materially 
passes through the body of all human beings. Thus we have 
here again the exact notion of germ plasm. 

The pneuma, in short, is something above mankind, which 
unites mankind together. It creates the relations between 
man and man, and also love between man and wife and be- 
tween man and his neighbor. It creates eternal life and it 
creates morality. The victory of the pneuma is the victory 
of germ plasm over somato plasm, the victory of the concep- 
tion of humanity over individual consciousness, and of altru- 
ism over egoism. In this sense we all can and all ought to 
believe in the Holy Ghost, the pneuma hagion. 

The habit of combating and pouring contempt on "earthly 
love,*' as it is called, is all the worse because it helps, and 
helps very materially, to bring about heavenly love. 

§ 164. — Earthly Love Makes Heavenly Love Possible 

There has been a vast deal of speculation as to why pro- 
creation must take place by means of a man and a woman, 
and why the children of human beings cannot simply be cut 
away from an unsexual procreator, as is, at any rate for the 

1 Luther here translates spiritual (psychic) by natural, which is 
certainly not the sense. 


time being, the case with the lowest animals. The question 
of the causes for this may be put aside here, but not that of 
the consequences. 

Whenever a creature produces six new creatures by par- 
thenogenesis, experience proves that each one of them is 
slightly different from the rest; and if we imagine these six 
offspring producing six species, again by parthenogenesis, 
then these will become more and more dissimilar, for each spe- 
cies will always be inheriting more and more new qualities' 
in which the others can necessarily have no part. On the 
other hand, they in turn are exposed to other influences. 
Each individual one, in short, invariably becomes the ancestor 
of a new species. 

Thus the organisms become increasingly split up, and even 
if at a particular time one branch had succeeded in domi- 
nating the world, as man is now doing, yet from that very 
day they would begin to divide up again. In that case we 
should still actually have the sinful sons of Cain with us, 
and the good children of Abel. But if the sons of Cain 
had murdered all the descendants of Abel, then the race of 
Cain would again be split up into several divisions, which in 
course of time would have become quite dissimilar. Between 
these two types of men a fight would again have become nec- 
essary. In short, the inevitable result of this type of pro- 
creation would be an everlasting war waged by every one 
against every one else, for, as time went on, the transmitted 
qualities would decrease almost to the vanishing-point, and 
would be quite unable to keep the other qualities under con- 

But we are sexually begotten, and although when parents 
have six children, each one is certainly different from the 
rest, yet these differences always counterbalance one another 
because the children's children intermarry, and thus the 

1 How this occurs is of no moment. It is a fact that animal species 
alter in process of evolution, and this is the only fact here alleged in 
support of any statements. 


varying accumulated inheritance of qualities has never time 
to become very different. Sexual love and sexual intercourse, 
therefore, are both the means of insuring the preservation of 
the uniformity of germ substance in any animal species in 
so far as the animal has an opportunity of sexual union with 
others of its species. They constantly bring the entire or- 
ganism of a whole race into contact and keep it together. 
Indeed, to the extent to which such an entire organism necessi- 
tates altruism, earthly love is the mother of heavenly love. 

The basis for the opinions just set forth has already been 
kno\\Ti for a considerable time. In 1853 the German zoologist 
Rudolf Leuckart discussed the tendency of sexual procrea- 
tion to prevent the degeneration — ^that is, the dispersion — 
of a race. In 1859, Charles Darwin ^ stated plainly that 
crossing, as opposed to unsexual reproduction, is of great im- 
portance in nature, inasmuch as by this means the individual 
units belonging to a species or variety are kept pure and uni- 
form in character. His ideas were adopted in the main by 
Spencer (1864), Nageli (1866), Hatscheck (1887), Hertwig 
(1893), Strassburger (1900), and Weismann (1902). Weis- 
mann, with his theorj^ of ideas and determinants, created use- 
less confusion, while others think, for instance, that the for- 
mation of different varieties is the very reason for bisexual 

But it is the Russian biologist Janicki ^ who most strongly 
insisted on the importance of sexual reproduction. He 
writes : 

The world, if I may say so, has not been broken up into a mass 
of independent fragments, which then, forever isolated from one 
another and mere parts of the whole, must strike out for themselves 
on straight courses, with only side branches. On the contrary, 

1 "Origin of Species," Chapter IV. 

2 "Uber Ursprung und Bedeutung der Amphimixis. Ein Beitrag zur 
Lehre der geschlechtliehen Zeugung" ("On the Origin and Significance 
of Amphimixis. A Contribution to the Doctrine of Sexual Procre- 
ation"), by C. von Janicki, 1906. "Biolog. Zentralblatt," XXVI, No. 


owing to bisexual procreation [amphimixis], the image of the 
macrocosm is periodically, but incessantly, set up as a microcosm 
in each part, and the macrocosm resolves itself into a thousand 
microcosms. It is as if nature, by introducing bisexual procrea- 
tion, had made a compromise between individualization and the 
hypothetical condition of panmixis [procreation by many]. The 
individual units are meant to be as independent as possible, to be 
able to move about freely and independently, etc., but, on the other 
hand, to be materially and continuously connected with one another, 
and remain in constant contact, like strawberry-plants, the runners 
of which are joined together. There is no way out of this save 
the periodical admixture of germ substances, whereby the necessary 
material continuity is transferred into each single individual unit, 
paradoxical as this may sound, for the continuity is present only 
on a miniature scale. But it is there. Each separate individual 
develops, as it were, on an invisible system of rhizomes [root sub- 
stances], which unite together the germ substances of countless 
personalities. This means the negation of that individualization 
which for vegetative purposes is indispensable; and if we look at a 
paramaeeium under the microscope, we do not at first suspect how 
something endlessly complex and multifarious, a whole, is to be 
found in this particle of living plasm. This whole is most inti- 
mately connected by invisible threads with the sum total of in- 
dividuals who compose the particular species in question, and who 
live or have lived a separate existence under the most diverse con- 

And on page 789 he says : 

But let us return to amphimixis. As in the ease of unicellular 
creatures, so also in that of polycellular ones, periodically occur- 
ring bisexual procreation is a physiological necessity. In both cases 
bisexual procreation affords each individual a constantly renewed 
connection with that form of life as a whole in which the species 
consists. In this close connection with the whole the simplest mono- 
plastid becomes modified periodically as time proceeds, and how- 
ever often it is divided up, it never meets with a natural death and 
consequent complete new formation apart from its growth; its body 
is simply remodeled, as in the case of a plastic substance. In the 
same connection with the whole, in a condensed primeval plasm, as 


it were, the life of polyplastids is rooted. The continuity of life, 
however, is assured by germ substances [plasms] alone. Somata 
appear in the light of a series of disconnected curves, which arise 
one after another from a continuous curve, that of the germ sub- 
stances taken together. The bodies have lost their plasticity, and 
each time bisexual procreation takes place they are formed anew in 

To this there is scarcely snything to add. Janicki has ex- 
hausted the problem, and all that now remains is to draw the 
necessary inferences and apply them to man^s moral actions. 


§ 165. — The Meaning of Mutation 

First and foremost it must be proved that the practical 
importance of this purely physical connection in the life of 
nations does not end with its being the solid basis of altru- 
ism. If, owing to any influence, this living substance should 
at any time have acquired the capacity of changing after 
a certain lapse of time, for instance a thousand years, then 
we must not be surprised if after this time all who have some 
of this living substance in them suddenly undergo a corre- 
sponding change. 

The enormous importance of this phenomenon need not be 
insisted upon. It means neither more nor less than that the 
future history of mankind is already present as a func- 
tional occurrence in the bodies of contemporary humanity. 
That this is true of the brain on a smaller scale was explained 
in § 26 ; but it now becomes clear that this may be an abso- 
lutely universal principle prevailing throughout the organic 

Now, such changes and sudden variations do actually oc- 
cur, and in the case of plants, where investigation is easier, 
owing to generations succeeding one another more rapidly, 
it has been carefully studied. The Dutch botanist Hugo de 


Vries ^ has shown that in a field of mullein, in which for 
centuries past the flowers had never varied, noteworthy dif- 
ferences suddenly began to appear. As a matter of fact, this 
is what happened. In a field of mullein each year a few 
plants show certain abnormalities, such as longer or shorter, 
thicker or thinner leaves, than the rest. Generally speak- 
ing, such abnormalities are of no importance, but suddenly 
in one particular year one of these abnormalities — long leaves, 
for instance — occurs in a great many cases of plants (Pro- 
fessor de Vries 's fifth law). These long leaves are quite 
constant at once; that is, they are fully transmitted, inde- 
pendently of external conditions. The following year, there- 
fore, this new kind of mullein occurs generally, and thus, as 
Professor de Vries says, a new kind of mullein has arisen by 
sudden variations, or so-called mutation. 

How this change comes about, whether really by what 
Professor de Vries calls mutation, or whether, as others state, 
it is only a case of latent qualites becoming again manifest, 
is of no moment here. What does matter is the actual fact, 
which simply proves that some connection must exist between 
the individual mullein-plants, and that this connection is still 
strong enough to affect them. Thus between the individual 
mullein-plants there is an actual cooperation of forces. That 
is the mulleins as a whole, despite their individual peculiari- 
ties, form an organism as a whole. And the fact of the con- 
tinuity and immortality of the germ plasm proves that such 
an organism is conceivable. 

Now, beyond doubt a similar connection exists between hu- 
man beings, and as we human beings, like all other animals, 
vary mainly with whatever organ has of late undergone the 
greatest changes (that is, with the human brain), most in- 
stances of variation will be found in the psychic domain. 

1 "Arten und Varietaten und ihre Entestehiing durch Mutation." 
("Species and Varieties and their origin owing to Mutation"), by H. 
de Vries, 1906. 


Here it is, however, that the striking similarity between the 
mullein and man occurs. In each year human beings are 
present with brain variations. These variations are the ex- 
pression of abnormal ideas, and may be described as signs of 
madness or of genius, according to whether they are capricious 
or reasonable. "Whether they really portend genius or mad- 
ness does not depend on the human beings themselves, but 
on the future, or rather on the mutations already latent in 
millions of their fellow-men, at present apparently entirely 

Now, if the elongation of the leaves is already present in 
the germ plasm of the mullein, it matters not that there 
should be abnormal mulleins, with too short, too thick, or too 
thin leaves: they are bound soon to die out. It is the long- 
leaves species of this particular year which are the geniuses 
heralding the coming change. And so it is with men. If 
the time is not yet fulfilled, if brain variations are not yet 
latent in us, it is of no use for men of genius to arise and 
prophesy changes. But when the time is fulfilled, then there 
is no longer need for prophecy. The least trifle is sufficient 
to give the needed impetus. Huss could achieve nothing 
where Luther carried all before him. Socrates took poison, 
but the crucified Christ left behind Him a religion which has 
influenced the whole world. 

Suddenly, at much about the same time, in Germany, 
France, and England men took to flying, just as formerly the 
conception of charity arose almost simultaneously in the most 
diverse parts of the world. 

§ 166. — The Mother of War Instincts 

These series of evolutions are concluded, and we can sur- 
vey them. Others are still awaiting completion by evolu- 
tions to come. Thus, for instance, Moltke discovered the 
ethical value of war, while Tolstoy insisted, as no one else 
had ever done, on the absolute necessity for its abolition. For 
the present it cannot be said which of these two variations 


represents madness variation and which genius. That de- 
pends on the direction in which the majority of our descend- 
ants mutate in the future. I should merely like to observe 
that the enthusiasm with which the War of 1914 is being car- 
ried on is absolutely no proof of Moltke s having been pos- 
sessed of genius ; for in any organ which is shortly to undergo 
a mutation great and frequent variations occur some time be- 
forehand. The fact on which I insisted in my first chapter, 
that nowadays our opinions about war are more widely di- 
vergent than ever before, seems to me a proof that before 
long our opinion of it will radically change. And the only 
one of the different mutations which will be able to endure 
will of course be the one best suited to actual present condi- 
tions. Consequently all that has been said in preceding chap- 
ters about the injuriousness of war at the present period jus- 
tifies us in coming to the conclusion that man will one day 
be transmuted once for all into a peaceful creature. The 
opinions of Moltke and his satellites down to Bernhardi, after 
all, wholly differ from those of the average mortal, and may 
be considered merely as a good omen for this mutation being 
no longer far off. 

Indeed, everything points to the fact that the dusk of the 
war god's day has already set in. 



§ 167. — Man's Connections from the Point of View of Time 

It is impossible to conceive of man as an insolated being, 
and this not merely because of his being the product of a 
succession of ancestors who extend back perhaps for millions 
of years, and whose gradual perfecting he represents. On 
this fact, however, I do not purpose to touch further here, as 
it can be looked up in any history of evolution. Note, how- 
ever, the unusual complication of the mechanism resulting 
from this fact. Man lives on directly by his germ plasm in 


his children and children's children. Hence, supposing there 
are three children on an average in a family, by the twenty- 
first generation (that is, in about ^ve hundred years) his 
vitality will be represented in a number of live human be- 
ings which will about correspond to that of the whole of 

Or, conversely, each individual human being has in him 
a drop of blood of each human being who lived five hiuidred 
years ago. The result is such an infinite number of connec- 
tions that at present there seems not the slightest chance of 
completely following up any single case. Houston Stewart 
Chamberlain says every important achievement we owe to 
men of Teutonic blood. Possibly, but it is just as possible 
that, as the modem French anthropologist Paul Souday says, 
we owe everything of importance to Celtic blood. And if any 
one arose and said everything good is due to Slavonic blood, it 
would be scarcely possible to disprove his assertion. 

No one can state in which of the ancestors of a man of 
genius the germ plasm was so much modified that the said 
man of genius was the result. Only one assertion can be 
made with absolute assurance, and that is that he did not be- 
come a genius of himself, but is the product of unknown an- 
cestors, who must be considered as a whole for the simple 
reason that they are not individually known. 

Perhaps even more important than these direct physical 
links with the past is very often the intellectual influence 
of a human being — an influence, of course indirectly, also 
physical. It is a commonplace to say that man survives in 
his works, but what is remarkable is how even anonymous 
human beings have survived in this way. Thus some insig- 
nificant diluvial human being, whose body and whose very 
skeleton are probably long since dust and ashes, covered the 
walls of the caves in the beautiful Valley of the Vezere with 
primitive markings intended to represent mammoths and 
bisons. Perhaps he did so only because he was bored, but 
on his scratchings we to-day are basing theories as to the 


origin of art. Thousands of years ago an unknown, perhaps 
idiotic, female slave at play imprinted her five fingers for 
the first on a clay vessel, and in so doing kept the brains of 
thousands of inquirers busy in the nineteenth century. The 
half -monkey or half -man the roof of whose skull chanced to 
have escaped decomposition at Trinil in Java certainly never 
ventured to dream that after a fabulous lapse of time he 
would become a personage of importance for all our scien- 
tists and would even influence our whole attitude to life. 

No one knows or can foretell how much an individual man 
is influencing or may influence mankind, and in historic 
times there has been no change in this respect. Have we 
any idea what occurrence, what saying, or even what gesture 
of some unknown human being may possibly have enabled 
human beings such as Jesus or Socrates first to utter thoughts 
which have decisively influenced the fate of mankind for 
thousands of years, have influenced it, indeed, for all time? 
Yet it may be that at the outset of these thoughts is some 
vanished human being whose very name is forgotten, but 
whose works live after him. 

It would be idle to speculate as to what may have been, 
but not idle clearly to realize that such things are possible. 
We see an endless series of effects and causes, which in de- 
tail we do not know, and which for that very reason we are 
obliged to consider as a whole. Mankind would be incompre- 
hensible if we did not look upon it as a homogeneous organism. 

Now that thoughts, once expressed, lead among mankind 
a life so to speak apart from their author, penetrate into 
others, as it were, and are a living influence on them, just 
as is physical germ plasm, there can be not the slightest 
doubt. These thoughts, like germ plasm, are endowed with 
eternal life, and proclaim aloud the primeval Orphic wisdom 
of the harmony of all life and the fact of mankind being an 

As a wise man of old, Empedocles, sings, in this sense 
there is neither birth nor death: ''Yet another truth will I 



tell unto thee. Not a single mortal thing is truly born, and 
Death the destroyer is not the end. There is naught but 
intermixture and exchange of what is intermixed. Only 
among men is it customary to call this birth.'* 

Thus material and djTiamically intellectual connections are 
transmitted through boundless periods of time, binding man- 
kind together; nor can any one say which are of the more 
moment, the physical or the intellectual connections. 

§ 168. — Man's Connections in Regard to Space 

Easier to prove is the existence of an intellectual bond be- 
tween man and man — easier, at any rate, up to a certain 
point. Still more obvious is this intellectual bond if we 
consider the spatial relations of contemporary human beings. 
Even in this respect no living man can be considered as other 
than part of an organism. 

Now, a man talks and learns only because he sees others 
doing so; that is, because he has some connection with these 
others. He can work only because he relies on the work of 
other men. For instance, I can write only because some- 
where men have felled trees, other men have cut them up, 
others again converted them into paper, and finally a whole 
series of men have conveyed the finished product to me. An- 
other endless series of men furnish me with a pen, another 
with a pen-holder, and yet another with ink. But in order 
that these words may be printed, that is, exert any effect, 
more endless hosts of men throughout the world have been 
busy. Some mined the lead for the type, others the iron for 
the machines, others, again, produced the oil and dye-stuffs 
for the printers' ink; and each of these workers requires tools 
and food, the production of which again has employed more 
enormous groups of people. 

Thus, if we go back to ultimate causes, perhaps the whole 
world may have had to help in order that even the smallest 
thought of an author may be transmitted to his reader; while 
as for the thought itself, it proceeds from millions of brains, 


and in tlie end can produce effect only because it is somehow 
predestined to do so in the brain of the recipient. In short, 
neither intellectually nor physically would man be conceivable 
except regarded as part of a great organism. 

We call the principles on which mankind works division 
of labor; but division is possible only if there is some whole 
which can be divided ; that is, the labor of all mankind. This 
sum total of labor, however, is and must proceed from an 
entire body. That this division of labor is demonstrably 
present in many human actions unknown to us is all the more 
proof that there actually is something present which is su- 
perior to the will of the individual man. 

Kant already pointed out that there are many purely 
physical qualities which obey great laws, the result being, so 
to speak, an "average human being" who in reality has no 
existence at all. This average human being in Germany is 
50.6 per cent, man and 49.4 per cent, woman; he or she en- 
ters into .8 marriages, has 2i/^ children, consumes 2500 cal- 
ories, commits .0002 suicides, .00001 murders, lives 40.5 years, 
and so on. 

We believe that it is of our own free will that we marry, 
beget a child, get drunk, etc., whereas in so doing we are 
unconsciously merely fulfilling a law in order to fulfil a par- 
ticular case of the universal law. Moreover, it must not be 
forgotten that correlative growth, or, rather, correlative 
variability, can be proved to occur in the individual organ- 
ism as also in mankind. Darwin ^ has defined this phenom- 
enon as follows: different parts of an organism are so con- 
nected in some unknown way with one another that, if one 
part modifies, the other does likewise, and if modifications oc- 
cur very frequently in one part, owing to selection, then other 
parts become modified. 

Now, it is quite easy to show that, if a new power-press 
is invented in America, a change occurs in European news- 
papers ; that, when the number of people in Europe increases 

1 "Descent of Man." Introduction to Vol. I. 


too much and there is consequently more emigration, this 
has its effects on conditions generally in America and Aus- 
tralia; and that whenever Armenians are murdered by the 
Turks this has its effect on the decisions taken in Washing- 
ton. Many more similar instances of cause and effect might 
also be cited. All which proves that just as not a cell can 
change in the human body without the whole body suffer- 
ing therefrom or being affected thereby, similarly no one on 
earth can do or suffer anything without all mankind, and 
therefore every single person, being affected in some way, 
though often unperceivable, it is true. 

Furthermore, just as a single cell forcibly removed from 
its surroundings cannot long survive alone, even so man, alone 
and isolated, perishes. 

As far as children are concerned, this is obvious, but even 
adults, who have already benefited by the influence of man- 
kind in general, cannot survive unless perhaps under alto- 
gether exceptionally favorable conditions; for instance on 
a solitary island where there are neither savage beasts nor any 
other special hazards. 


§ 169. — Humanity and Intercommunication 

All mankind, therefore, is one organism physically and ma- 
terially united together by the fact of germ plasm, and intel- 
lectually and djmamically by the fact of action and reaction. 
But whereas the connections due to germ plasm are immuta- 
ble, the reciprocal relations are perpetually changing. In- 
deed, it is beyond doubt that their numbers increase with 
time ; that is, with their help mankind is developing into a more 
and more perfect organism. Hence it is these dynamic rela- 
tions, this interchange of intellectual forces, on which the 
pitch of organization attained by the human organism de- 
pends in the last resort. Were these relations, therefore, ab- 
solutely clearly set forth, then we should know what point 


in its development the human race has already attained, and 
what degree of universal brotherhood could be demanded of it. 

Hence nothing perhaps would be so well worth doing as to 
describe these relations ; but this is impossible within the limits 
of this volume, owing to their being absolutely limitless in 
number. Everything which we call civilization or culture, 
language, morals, law, or rights, technical achievement, art, or 
science, and much else besides, are merely ways of expressing 
such relations and the means of continuing them. There are 
two ways, however, and only two, of hindering everything of 
the kind. One of these ways is crime, and war is the other. 

All these relations taken together may broadly and gener- 
ally be described as humanity, for the possibility of such rela- 
tions is precisely that which confers on the human race its 
unique, dominant position in nature. This humanity, how- 
ever, thus considered, ceases to be a vague conception of any 
remote ideal of our dreams, but an absolutely real embodiment 
of an existing link. The ideal and the future are to be found 
only in the perfecting and further development of what al- 
ready exists, and in opposing everything tending to obstruct 
such further development; that is, in opposition to crime and 

To some, however, the fine word humanity still does not 
convey a sufficiently definite idea, which is partly due to its 
being so frequently misused. To others again the phrase 
** human relationships'* seems too colorless. They should 
therefore select the tangible relationship, — ^intercommunica- 
tion, — which does not include merely trade, post, and railways, 
but, after all, everything forming a tie between man and man ; 
and a survey of the history of evolution would soon prove that 
all this springs from the same origin — ^love. Humanity, love, 
and intercommunication accordingly all mean the same thing. 

What, therefore, really ought to be done is to write a history 
of intercommunication from the point of view of humanity, 
and likewise to promote it. Suffice it here to say, however, that 
in this respect we are undoubtedly passing through a critical 


period. During the last century all technical means of travel 
and communication were perfected by leaps and bounds, and 
it is inconceivable that this should not produce any moral 
after effects. 

This striving after perfection of means of communication 
finds unconscious expression in the socialist movement of the 
nineteenth century, the so-called revival of the Christian 
spirit, and in pacifism. 

But just because man was not aware of these aspirations of 
his, the masses, with their instinctive conservatism, rebelled 
against the inevitable new order of things and the regrettable, 
but probably inevitable, reaction was the War of 1914. 

The war, however, is only an episode, and intercommunica- 
tion — going to and fro — is an epoch. When, on January 7, 
1891, the Emperor William II wrote to Dr. von Stephan, 
Secretary of State for the German Imperial Post-Office, that 
**The world at the close of the nineteenth century is under the 
sign of intercommunication,'' he merely expressed a common- 
place. It is satisfactory to note the assurance with which he 
proceeds to say, "This intercommunication breaks down the 
boundaries separating nations, and forms new connections be- 
tween them.'' It would not have been difficult to perceive, 
arguing from these premises, that all military preparations, all 
excitation of jingo passions, and all suppression of methods by 
which nations can express their desires could do nothing but 
hinder this process of international union of which the emperor 
clearly had at least a premonition. 

§ 170. — Speech as a Means of Intercommunication 

Now, the movement tending to develop the dynamic relations 
between man and man has certainly never come to a stand- 
still. Language was the first means of communication and 
mutual understanding, and even now it is the most delicate 
intellectual sediment and a touchstone of culture and civiliza- 
tion. True, there are still peoples who manage with a few 


hundred words, but the vocabulary of a Shakspere runs into 
tens of thousands of words. Beyond doubt this increased 
facility of expression has an extraordinarily refining influence 
on relations between man and man ; or, rather, these additions 
to our vocabulary prove that such relations have become more 

Now, it may certainly be objected with reason that this 
applies only to the individual persons of one nation, that is, to 
people all speaking the same language. But it is nevertheless 
a fact that as civilization advances, the divergencies of lan- 
guage over a large extent of territory decrease. In America 
the number of languages is greatest,^ for none of the small, 
itinerant Indian tribes can be understood by a neighbor tribe. 
After America comes Africa and Asia, while Europe, which, 
like China, that vast aggregate of races, has long been in- 
habited by civilized peoples, early attained comparative unity 
of language. Thus in Europe only about fifty (that is five 
per cent.) of the thousand odd languages in the world are 
spoken. This is partly due to the fact that wherever civiliza- 
tion is high, and consequently there is a great deal of inter- 
communication, languages mix, becoming enriched in the 
process, and thus all the more easily supplant the poorer and 
more backward languages. England, in fact, owes the rich- 
ness of her language, and perhaps also her civilization, to the 
fact of almost all Teutonic and Romance families of languages 
being here included in one speech. The assimilation of for- 
eign words, in fact, is not only a linguistic gain, but likewise 
signifies an advance in civilization. For instance, in the Mid- 
dle Ages, when the German language borrowed from Latin 
and Greek the words Brief (letter, hreve), Tinte (ink — 
tingere), sckreiben (write — scrihere), Kirche (church — kyria- 
kon)y Pfarrer (pastor — parochius)^ and Monch (monk — 

1 In Australia the same conditions probably prevailed, but here many 
languages have partly died out, together with the natives speaking 


monackus), it not merely enriched itself in so doing, but like- 
wise proved that the Germans had learned to write and become 

Similarly to-da